Nadia Mohamed Ali, an Egyptian widow, was born into a Christian family. As a young woman, she married Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab Mustafa, a Moslem, twenty-three years ago. She and her husband had seven children. After her husband died, Nadia applied to change her religion back to “Christian” on the government identification form for her and her children. She sought this change starting in 2004 through 2006.
Under President Morsi and the new Islamist constitution, when the conversion came to light, two weeks ago, a criminal court in the central Egyptian city of Beni Suef sentenced Nadia and her seven children to fifteen years in prison. (How about that for swift justice?) Even the government clerks who assisted her in changing her religious status on the identification cards years ago were sentenced to prison (though those who hired the government clerks were not sentenced to prison, at least not yet).
Over the past year, I have warned that the Moslem Brotherhood government of Egypt is extremely bad news for Christians in that nation. Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, commenting on Nadia’s story, observed:
Now that Sharia law has become an integral part of Egypt’s new constitution, Christians in that country are at greater risk than ever. This is another tragic case that underscores the growing problem of religious intolerance in the Muslim world. To impose a prison sentence for a family because of their Christian faith sadly reveals the true agenda of this new government: Egypt has no respect for international law or religious liberty.
Samuel Tadros of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, was quoted by Fox News that conversions like Nadia’s have been common in Egypt in the past, but “is a real disaster in terms of religion freedom” under the new Sharia-based constitution. As a result, Mr. Tadros notes, “Christians in that country are at greater risk than ever.” Requests for comment about this case from the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C., were unanswered.
Franz Kafka, in his novel The Trial, tells the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a faraway and inaccessible governmental authority, where the nature of the crime was never revealed to the arrested man. Kafka’s protagonist couldn’t believe what was happening to him because he “was living in a free country, after all, everywhere was at peace, all laws were decent, and were upheld.” Of course, this is not what Nadia and her children are facing in the Kafkaesque Egyptian Sharia, where she and her children do not live in a free county, and where there is no peace, and the laws are increasingly indecent and inequitable.
My readers know that Egypt is the recipient of billions of dollars of annual aid from the United States, and with much more coming in the next few months. Notwithstanding Egyptian President Morsi’s harsh (and foolish) rhetoric about President Obama being a liar, and the Israeli Jews are descendants of apes and pigs, President Obama is sending a “gift” of 200 Abrams tanks and F-16 fighters to Egypt. Why are these weapons being sent? According to a State Department spokesperson, the Obama administration seeks to “maintain a strategic partnership with Egypt that enhances the security and peace of the region.” Please let your congressional representatives know that you oppose providing taxpayer, foreign aid to countries that persecute Christians, including those with which the United States has a strategic partnership. And if you wish to contact His Excellency, Mohamed M. Tawfik, Egypt’s Ambassador to the United States, you can telephone him at 1.202.895.5400, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am sure he will enjoy hearing from you.