Monday, September 03, 2007

Egypt's Administrative Court Decides Case of Twins Tomorrow

The Egyptian Christian website The Free Copts has just published an article on an important upcoming case before Egypt's Administrative Court, regarding the 14-year-old twin Egyptian Baha'i children Emad and Nancy who remain, to this date, without Egyptian birth certificates. The court heard the case on 7 May 2007, postponed it until 3 July 2007, and again the court had postponed this case for a decision to be heard tomorrow, the 4th of September. Meanwhile the twin children remain without recognition of their birth, thus deprived of education, vaccination, health care and other essential services.

The Christian website article, entitled "New dilemma in front of the Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court," explains the case of Emad and Nancy and compares them to the controversy of a twin Egyptian Christian boys, Andrew & Mario, whose father, having converted from Christianity to Islam, is assisted by the authorities in forcing the conversion of his boys to Islam without their consent.

Below is the unedited article on The Free Copts website:

Following Andrew and Mario, starts another cycle of struggle to evince religion for children. The Supreme Administrative Court will look into the lawsuit filed by the Egyptian citizen Raouf Hindi Halim (a Baha’i convert) on the 4th of September, in which he is pleading to issue official papers for his twins, Imad and Nancy aged 14 years, with the religion field left blank – for manual filling - or to write (Baha'i) in the religion column. He strongly refused to write any other religion in that field, as a belief of religious freedom and based on the recognition by some Arab countries for the Baha'i religion such as the Sultanate of Oman.

Halim had resided in Oman and had issued official papers for his twins there. The case was postponed several times since it was first brought before the administrative court on 7/12/2004.
The lawsuit came after the concerned authorities had refused to issue any official papers for them for three years as a refusal for the children (Imad and Nancy) to pursue their father’s religion - the baha’i. We contacted the father Raouf Hindi Halim, who ensured that the refusal of the concerned authorities for issuing identity papers for his children is an explicit violation of article (18) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stipulates that (everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion). It also violates Article 18 of the International Treaty concerning the Civil and Political Rights, which has become obligating for the Egyptian government after joining in 1982. The article states that: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or adopt a religion or the freedom to follow any religion or belief of one's choice.
The article protects monotheistic and non-monotheistic faiths as well as atheism. It prevents further acts of intimidation that would impair the right to a religion or to be forced to follow a religion against will, using alternative methods including the use of violence, authority or punitive force.
The existence of religion adhered to by the majority of a population must not lead to any other obstruction of rights set forth in the Treaty, including the articles (27,18), and must not lead to any kind of discrimination for pursuing other beliefs, including the denial of some of their civil rights, like the refusal for issuance of official documents that prove their national identity as in the case of my children, which started three years ago.
Imad and Nancy await a verdict on 4th of September hoping that the court would grant them justice and make them useful members of society by giving them a national identity.
Halim adds: "strangely the government is doing so with my children as opposed to their unwavering stance for Andrew and Mario to follow their father’s religion after his conversion to Islam," In the end, the father pointed that Imad, Nancy, Andrew and Mario are all examples of children demanding their rights, and pleaded to the just and honorable Egyptian Authorities not to deprive the children of their sense of freedom and rights to embrace a religion of their choice, a right guaranteed by most countries of the world, including some Arab countries like the Sultanate of Oman.

Translated by The Free Copts from the original Arabic version


  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    Article 15.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

    My question is; "If you are deprived of a birth certificate are you not being deprived of your Nationality?" So regardless of any deprivation of religeous freedom, this action against the twins is also in contravention of another article of this charter. R Battrick, Christchurch, NZ

  2. we, copts, stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone who seeks equality to all egyptians.

  3. Anonymous-1,
    You quite correct. Thank you for pointing this out.

    Thank you for your support and for your high aspirations. One day equality shall prevail.


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