Attorney says he is ‘90 percent sure’ that convert from Islam will win case.

ISTANBUL, February 10 (Compass Direct News) – Following a hearing on Saturday (Feb. 7), the lawyer for a Christian convert in Egypt said he is hopeful that his client will become the first Muslim-born Egyptian to be granted official identification as a Christian.

Nabil Ghobreyal, attorney in the controversial and long-running legal effort by Maher Ahmad El-Mo’otahssem Bellah El-Gohary to change religious affiliation on his identification papers, said he expects a favorable decision at the next hearing on Feb. 21.

“I am now 90 percent sure they will accept the conversion,” said Ghobreyal. “I proved to the court that there is no legal reason why he can’t convert to Christianity according to Egyptian civil law.”

Ghobreyal said he is “generally happy with the attitude” of the new judge in the case, Hamdy Yasin, who declared that he was ready to listen to the facts of the case without prejudice. Yasin replaced Judge Mohammad Ahmad Atyia, who in a Jan. 6 hearing expelled Ghobreyal from the courtroom after the lawyer challenged his refusal to acknowledge the existence of legal documents detailing the successful attempt of a Muslim to convert to the Baha’i faith.

Lawyers for the state asked that El-Gohary, who has been in hiding under threat of death, appear in person to offer testimony. Ghobreyal protested, arguing that forcing El-Gohary to attend would present extreme risk to his personal safety. The judge agreed to Ghobreyal’s request.

Mohammed Hegazy, the first Muslim-born Christian convert to attempt to have his new religion officially registered, is also in hiding after receiving death threats.

Ghobreyal said that the state’s lawyers seemed to attempt to further delay or derail the case by calling for Dr. Ahmed Fathi Sorour, speaker of the People’s Assembly (Egypt’s parliament), to appear in court to testify about lack of legislation on “apostasy,” or leaving Islam.



Should El-Gohary be granted the right to officially convert on Feb. 21, he would become the first Egyptian born a Muslim to do so.

Such a precedent could pave the way for Hegazy, whose petition to legally change his religious status was denied in January of last year. His lawyer, Gamal Eid, said this week he hopes to obtain another court date for his appeal.

“It would be very good for any cases like this,” Eid said. “It will open the door for people who are looking for freedom of belief.”

As much as a favorable ruling for El-Gohary would represent a milestone for freedom of belief in Egypt, the editor of the Egyptian newspaper Watani said he would have concerns about the impact of such a decision.

“Definitely there will be a backlash, whether from al-Azhar [university and mosque in Cairo], the Islamic supreme authority, or from the media or from the people,” said Youssef Sidhom, a Coptic Christian. “This is expected, and I suppose our government should be prepared to deal with such reactions.”

Ghobreyal, however, maintained that success would secure a route for all those wishing to officially change their religious affiliation.

“They will not be able to do that [ban official conversion in the future],” he said, “because of the international covenants and treaties which Egypt has ratified and the difficulty of making a law against apostasy, on which Islamic jurisprudence differs about how it should be handled.”

Despite a constitution that grants religious freedom, legal conversion from Islam to another faith remains unprecedented. Hegazy, who filed his case on Aug. 2, 2007, was denied the right to officially convert in a Jan. 29, 2008 court ruling that declared it was against Islamic law for a Muslim to leave Islam.

The judge based his decision on Article II of the Egyptian constitution, which enshrines Islamic law, or sharia, as the source of Egyptian law. The judge said that, according to sharia, Islam is the final and most complete religion and therefore Muslims already practice full freedom of religion and cannot return to an older belief (Christianity or Judaism).

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat amended the constitution in 1980 to make sharia the main source of legislation in order to bolster support from Islamists against his secular and leftist rivals. Legal experts say there are two views of how sharia is to influence Egyptian law: That it is to be enforced directly in all government spheres, or that it is only to influence shaping of law by legislators and is not to be literally enforced by courts or other bodies.  

Report from Compass Direct News  


The report below comes from the Christian Telegraph and describes the discovery of a bowl that ‘scientists’ so called are speculating all manner of theories on. It seems the discovery of any object can be used to push an agenda of any type – in this case an agenda that will stop at nothing to nullify the claims of Christ.

The footage below was found on YouTube regarding the discovery of this bowl:

The report from the Christian Telegraph now follows:


Scientists find ancient bowl that may call Jesus a magician

In what is certainly to be a controversial speculation too hard for many Evangelical Christians to swallow, scientists claim they have found an ancient bowl that refers to Jesus Christ as a magician, reports Michael Ireland, chief correspondent, ASSIST News Service.

A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found the bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that is engraved with what they believe could be the world’s first known reference to Christ.

In an online article by Jennifer Viegas of the Discovery Channel posted to the MSNBC website, scientists say the engraving reads, “DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS,” which has been interpreted to mean either, “by Christ the magician” or, “the magician by Christ.”

The MSNBC article says that if the word “Christ” refers to the Biblical Jesus Christ, as is speculated, then the discovery may provide evidence that Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world.

“It could very well be a reference to Jesus Christ, in that he was once the primary exponent of white magic,” said archaeologist Goddio, who is co-founder of the Oxford Center of Maritime Archaeology.

In her article, Viegas says that Goddio and his colleagues found the object during an excavation of the underwater ruins of Alexandria’s ancient great harbor. The Egyptian site also includes the now submerged island of Antirhodos, where Cleopatra’s palace may have been located.

Viegas says that both Goddio and Egyptologist David Fabre, a member of the European Institute of Submarine Archaeology, think a “magus” could have practiced fortune telling rituals using the bowl. The Book of Matthew refers to “wisemen,” or Magi, believed to have been prevalent in the ancient world.

According to Fabre, the bowl is also very similar to one depicted in two early Egyptian earthenware statuettes that are thought to show a soothsaying ritual.

“It has been known in Mesopotamia probably since the 3rd millennium B.C.,” Fabre said. “The soothsayer interprets the forms taken by the oil poured into a cup of water in an interpretation guided by manuals.”

Fabre added that the individual, or “medium,” then goes into a hallucinatory trance when studying the oil in the cup.

“They therefore see the divinities, or supernatural beings appear that they call to answer their questions with regard to the future,” he said.

Viegas writes that scientists theorize the magus might then have used the engraving on the bowl to legitimize his supernatural powers by invoking the name of Christ.

Goddio said, “It is very probable that in Alexandria they were aware of the existence of Jesus” and of his associated legendary miracles, such as transforming water into wine, multiplying loaves of bread, conducting miraculous health cures, and the story of the resurrection itself.

Viegas explains that while not discounting the Jesus Christ interpretation, other researchers have offered different possible interpretations for the engraving, which was made on the thin-walled ceramic bowl after it was fired, since slip was removed during the process.

Bert Smith, a professor of classical archaeology and art at Oxford University, suggests the engraving might be a dedication, or present, made by a certain “Chrestos” belonging to a possible religious association called Ogoistais.

Klaus Hallof, director of the Institute of Greek inscriptions at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy, added that if Smith’s interpretation proves valid, the word “Ogoistais” could then be connected to known religious groups that worshipped early Greek and Egyptian gods and goddesses, such as Hermes, Athena and Isis.

Hallof additionally pointed out that historians working at around, or just after, the time of the bowl, such as Strabon and Pausanias, refer to the god “Osogo” or “Ogoa,” so a variation of this might be what’s on the bowl. It is even possible that the bowl refers to both Jesus Christ and Osogo.

Fabre concluded: “It should be remembered that in Alexandria, paganism, Judaism and Christianity never evolved in isolation. All of these forms of religion (evolved) magical practices that seduced both the humble members of the population and the most well-off classes.”

“It was in Alexandria where new religious constructions were made to propose solutions to the problem of man, of God’s world,” he added. “Cults of Isis, mysteries of Mithra, and early Christianity bear witness to this.”

The bowl is currently on public display in the exhibit “Egypt’s Sunken Treasures” at the Matadero Cultural Center in Madrid, Spain, until November 15.

Report from the Christian Telegraph