Egypt Jails Christian Woman In Religious Dispute

Bahia Nagy El-Sisi was sentenced for "forgery of an official document," confirmed the United Copts of Great Britain advocacy group, which has closely monitored the case.

Her sister, Shadia El-Sisi, was earlier tried for stating her religion as Christian on her marriage certificate, and sentenced to three years imprisonment in November last year. She was released two months later, amid international pressure.

Shadia and Bahia Nagy El-Sisi, both in their late 40s and residents of the small east Delta town Mit-Ghamr, were detained and tried for claiming their official religious identity as Christian. Unknown to them, their religious identity changed 46 years ago due to their father’s brief conversion to Islam, to divorce his wife and gain custody of his daughters, the defense team said.

"SUPERIOR" RELIGION

Under Egyptian legislation, which is influenced by Islamic law, child custody is awarded to whichever parent has the "superior" religion and dictates "no jurisdiction of a non-Muslim over a Muslim."

If Bahia El-Sisi’s identity as a Muslim stands, her religious status could potentially create a domino effect that would require her husband to convert to Islam or have their marriage nullified, analysts said.

News of the ruling came after Christians also confirmed that a Christian mother in Egypt lives in fear that police will take away her two sons, after their Muslim father won a controversial custody battle.

CHRISTIAN TWINS

The Appeal Court of the town of Alexandria granted custody of 13-year-old Christian twins Andrew and Mario to her husband, despite laws spelling out mothers rights to keep custody over children till the age of 15.

Both boys have made clear in statements they want to remain Christians, BosNewsLife monitored.

The cases come as rights groups of Copts have warned of growing Islamic extremism in Egypt, although the government has said it wants to fight militants.

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