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The criminal court of Beni Suef (115km south of Cairo) has sentenced an entire family to prison for converting to Christianity. Nadia Mohamed Ali, who was born into a Christian family, converted to Islam when she married Mustafa Mohamed Abdel-Wahab 23 years ago. When Mustufa died in 1991 Nadia decided to return to Christianity, bringing her seven children with her.

In 2004 the family decided to take Christian names and have their identity cards amended. Seven Registry Office officials facilitated this. Now Nadia and her seven children have been convicted of apostasy and sentenced to 15 years’ jail, while the seven Registry Office officials have each received 5-year sentences.

Samuel Tadros, a research fellow at Hudson Institute’s Centre for Religious Freedom, said conversions like Nadia’s have been common in the past, but said Egypt’s new Sharia-based constitution “is a real disaster in terms of religion freedom.”

President Mohamed Morsi, who was elected last June and succeeded the secular reign of Hosni Mubarak, who is now in prison, pushed the new constitution through last year. The constitution limits the practise of Christianity because “religious freedom has to be understood within the boundaries of Sharia.” He added that the constitution prescribes that the highest Sunni authority should be referred to as an interpreter of the religion clause contained in the constitution. Source: Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission, Fox News