Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo
Egyptian authorities sentenced a woman to three years in prison because her father’s brief conversion to Islam 45 years ago legally made her a Muslim while her identity papers state she’s a Christian.
Shadia Nagui Ibrahim, 47, was charged in Cairo with fraud even though she didn’t know that according to Egyptian law, her father’s conversion in 1962 made her a Muslim, the South African Press Association reported.
When his daughter was 2 years old, Nagui Ibrahim left home and converted to Islam. He reconciled with his wife three years later and re-converted to Christianity. In the process, he had someone forge his personal identity documents to say he was Christian.
Traditional Muslim practice forbids conversion from Islam, which is punishable by death.
The man who forged Nagu Ibrahim’s documents was detained in 1996 for falsifying dozens of documents and confessed to changing Ibrahim’s papers, SAPA reported.
Nagu Ibrahim also was detained and informed his daughter officially was a Muslim, because children in Egypt automatically take their father’s religion.
When Shadia Ibrahim married in 1982, she stated she was a Christian. Authorities prosecuted her for “providing false information on official documents,” and after a lengthy trial she was sentenced in 2000, in abstentia, to three years in prison.
Egypt forbids a Muslim woman from marry a Christian man.
Her charges after the sentence were dropped, but she was detained in August this year and sentenced to three years after a brief court session, her lawyer said, according to SAPA.
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