First Conversion certificate issued to a Christian convert – Egypt

Egyptian citizens are required at all times to carry personal ID cards. The ID card allows the citizen to vote, access basic services such as medical care in a public hospital, or obtain employment, passports, education and other services. The ID card states what religion the card holder belongs to and therefore what religious activity they and their children can participate in. Under Egyptian law, the children of someone who has converted from Islam to Christianity are still considered Muslim and therefore cannot attend Christian religious classes in school, cannot marry in a church and cannot attend church services. Conversion from Christianity to Islam in Egypt is readily recognised by the authorities and changing the religion on the ID card of such a convert is quick and easy. However, those who convert from Islam to Christianity find that their conversion will not be recognised officially and that their ID card cannot be changed. Therefore an Egyptian Christian from a Muslim background is not allowed to attend church services. Their children are also deemed to be Muslims, no matter what the children actually believe, and face similar restrictions including a ban on attending Christian religious classes in school. Muslim born Maher-al-Gohari converted to Christianity and wanted to change the religious status on his ID card so that he could be recognised as a Christian, thus enabling his teenage daughter, who is also a Christian, to receive Christian education. In a highly risky move, an Egyptian church leader last week issued a certificate of conversion to al-Gohari so that he can now apply to have his state documents amended. This is the first known time an Egyptian church has issued such a certifi cate. If al-Gohari is successful in changing his religious status on his ID card, it is likely that it may open the door for many people to apply for their conversion from Islam to Christianity to be legally recognised, thus enabling them to f unction freely in society as Christians. • Praise the Lord Jesus for the certificate issued to enable Maher-al-Gohari to demonstrate his conversion and pray that he will be successful in applying to have his ID card amended. Pray that the Lord will protect al-Gohari and the church minister who issued the certificate • Pray that the issuing of this certificate will pave the way for more Christians who are living in the shadows to have their conversion to Christianity legally recognized.

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