All the better to harass them with in a year, when they have to apply for national identification cards that will label them as Muslims. An update on this story. “Egypt: Court grants custody of sons to Coptic mother,” from Compass Direct News, July 2:
LOS ANGELES, July 1 (Compass Direct News) — A Christian mother in Egypt has won custody of her twin sons from her estranged husband, who had converted to Islam and claimed them according to Islamic legal precepts.
The now 15-year-old boys, however, will still be considered Muslims despite their desire to remain Christian.
On June 15 the Egyptian Court of Cassation ruled that Kamilia Gaballah could retain custody of her sons Andrew and Mario, even though the father converted to Islam and the boys” religion also changed as a result.
If the court does not allow them to return to Christianity, the family will open up another court case, said their older brother George Medhat Ramses.
“Up until now the court said they would have the right to choose their faith,” said Ramses, 21. “But if they don’t, we will start another trial. This is the only way.”
The decision overturns a September 2008 ruling by the Alexandria Appeals court that had granted custody of the twins to their father, Medhat Ramses Labib, due solely to his conversion. During this time Gaballah lived in constant fear police would take away her sons.
The ruling also affirmed Article 20 of Egypt’s Personal Status Law, which states children should remain with their mother regardless of religion until age 15, over that of the Hanefi School of Islamic jurisprudence, which says that a child must be granted custody to the Muslim father in an inter-religious marriage once he or she becomes 7.
But the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) advocacy group noted that while the court ruled a woman cannot be denied custody of her children solely on her Christian faith if her husband converts, children can still be removed from her home if there are “fears for the child’s faith.” An ex-husband or his family could easily exploit this clause, the human rights group said.
According to Gaballah, the trial was not a matter of custody rights but was religious in nature from beginning to end.
“My opponent is not only my divorcee; my opponent is everyone who hears this story and wants Andrew and Mario to become Muslims,” said Gaballah, according to Copts United advocacy group.
Mario and Andrew turned 15 in June. On their 16th birthday, they must apply for Egyptian identity cards, which factor heavily into Egyptian daily life. Barring another court battle, their religion will still be registered as Muslim….