A family consisting of a widowed mother and her seven children were handed fifteen year jail terms for charges of forging their official documents to reflect their Christian names.
The mother, Nadia Ali Mohamed, was a life-long Christian when she married her Muslim husband. Upon her marriage, she converted to Islam. Her husband died in 1991, and by 2004, Nadia decided to return to Christianity. She also converted her seven children.
She had the Muslim names removed from their Identity cards and replaced with their Christian names, then moved to a different city that was also reflected on their papers.
After a couple of years, one of the sons got into trouble with the police in the city of Beni Suef, which is approximately 70 miles south of Cairo. While at the information center, it was discovered that his documents were not authentic, and he was arrested.
After an interrogation, the son admitted he had converted to Christianity, and told the police the decision to change his name on the official documents came from his mother, Nadia.
Egyptian judges made the decision to bring charges against Nadia and all seven of her children. As well, charges were filed against the officials who aided the family by effecting the name change on the documents.
The sentence handed down include fifteen years in jail for each of the family members, and five years for each of the clerks.
Converting to Christianity in the Islamic country of Egypt is far from easy, and getting a name changed on official documents to reflect a non-Muslim name is even more arduous. According to a story filed by AsiaNews, the religion of an individual is included on official identity documents in Egypt, and because it is so difficult to get this information changed legally, many resort to forgery.
It should be noted that an individual who wishes to convert to the Islamic faith meets no hindrance, at all.