Declaration by the Christian Converts of Egypt
A plea from Egyptian converts to Christianity who are caught in the jaws of
unjust laws.

October 26, 2003
Cairo, Egypt

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.

For many years, we have been struggling for the simplest of our human rights,
the freedom of belief and the freedom of worship.

We have been imprisoned, tortured, followed by the security police and
subjected to all forms of abuse for our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and
Savior.

But in Jesus, our lives and behavior are so much better. Many among us were
terrorists, Islamist fundamentalists. We were burning churches, killing,
dealing with our whole society as apostates. But after we put our faith in
Jesus, we became pacifists, bonded to our nation, living as best we could.

But despite this change for the better, our Islamic government does not accept
the changing of our religion from Islam to Christianity.

This right is accepted by the Constitution of Egypt, but rejected by Islamic
Law: "And whoso becometh a renegade and dieth in his disbelief, such are
rightful owners of the fire they will abide in" (Surah El-Baqarah 217).

Islamic law is the main source for the Egyptian Constitution: Article 2: "Islam
is the state religion, Arabic the official language, and the principles of
Islamic Law the main source of legislation."

According to this legislation, we as converts are considered as apostates. We
need to repent within three days, or we will be killed.

But Al-Azhar was "merciful" to us, and changed the punishment from repentance
to be carried out for the rest of the apostate's life. So, he will be
imprisoned for life, under surveillance, threatened-for the rest of his life!

We are between the jaws of the Constitution and the legislation. To solve this
dilemma of the freedom of belief guaranteed in the Constitution, and the
judgment for apostasy in Islamic Law, they put us between the jaws of an
illegal law.

The Penal Code states that whoever blasphemes or disdains a heavenly religion
must be brought before the courts. By "heavenly religion" here, they mean
Islam! But how, and why? No one knows. Is it logical that the person who
chooses a religion other than Islam is accused of blasphemy, and the opposite
is not applied?

We as Christian converts therefore declare:

1] We claim our rights, as given by the Egyptian Constitution and by all the
international declarations and treaties of human rights worldwide. We ask the
Egyptian Government to not act with its citizens in an unequal way. Just as it
deals with the Christian embracing Islam, giving him the right to change his
faith, his name, his identity and all his official papers in less than 24
hours, we as converts claim the same right-the citizenship right by which we
are subject to the same rights and the same duties. Here Christians are not
persecuted, because they have the freedom to change their faith; but Muslims
are persecuted, because they are not enjoying that same right!

2] We ask that all cases of falsification of documents against the converts to
Christianity be dropped, with no conditions. The Egyptian Government is itself
responsible for this illegal action, because it has deprived us of one of our
basic legal rights, to embrace a new faith and change our name, our identity
and our official papers. Give us our rights, and we will not falsify these
things.

3] We ask the Egyptian Government and all human rights organizations all over
the world to stop the torture, illegal detention, security surveillance and
incitement of families against religious converts. It is unbelievable in the
21st century that the tribunals of inquisition are still controlling our
consciences, hearts and minds.

4] We declare to the Egyptian Government that it has been playing for time for
many years now, while we have had to spend our lives, our dreams and ourselves
behind bars, kept in prisons and under detention. In the face of the rising
number of converts, the government has no choice but to respect the desire of
thousands of Muslims to embrace Christianity. We do not want this to be only an
inner, secret faith, but a totally embracing one, so that we will be able to
worship freely our Lord and Savior Jesus, and be allowed to raise our children
in all the breadth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Finally, we believe that:

"In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer. I have overcome
the world."

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

THE CHRISTIAN CONVERTS OF EGYPT

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