Egypt: A convert to Christianity imprisoned for trying to change his religion in ID card

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Persecution of Christians

An Egyptian Christian journalist imprisoned for reporting anti-Christian attacks.

According to media reports, Bishoy Boulos who is a former Muslim who converted to Christianity. He is a high-profile journalist who was imprisoned for reporting attacks on churches. What is more, other journalists who were arrested along with Bishoy Boulos were released from the prison.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave orders to release 100 people ahead of the UN summit in New York, United States. The journalists arrested along with Bishoy were among those 100 who were released but the Christian journalist’s name was not among those to be pardoned.

In this regard, Paul Robinson – Chief Executive of Release International said, “Its great news that high-profile journalists were set free. But Bishoy Boulos remains in jail for reporting on attacks against Christians and for asserting his claim to be a Christian. Egypt must set Bishoy free and deliver on its promise to guarantee full religious freedom.”

Bishoy Boulos, was arrested in December 2013. He was arrested because of accusation of “harming the national interests of the state” because he reported the burning of churches and attacks against Christians in Egypt. Bishoy is also known by his former name Mohamed Hegazy.

Also read: A Christian accused of blasphemy by fellow villagers in Kasur, Pakistan

It has been alleged that he is suffering because of his conversion from Islam to Christianity. The Release International has been closely monitoring this case since quite some time. Bishoy was charged of blasphemy which is believed to be a result of his attempt to change his religious identity from Muslim to Christian on his official ID card, The Release International maintains.

Bishoy Boulos has been in news since 2007. He was the first ever Egyptian Christian convert who tried to change his religion from Muslim to Christian in his national ID card. It has been alleged that he has been arrested and tortured and facing life-threatening situations because of this reason.

“Bishoy’s continued detention probably has more to do with his earlier conversion from Islam than to any alleged offence connected with reporting.”The continued persecution of Bishoy Boulous reveals two things. The authorities are reluctant to face the truth about continuing attacks against Christians, and converts to Christianity remain at serious risk despite the country’s new constitution, which is supposed to protect religious freedom.

“Unless there is a clear mechanism to enforce the rights of the country’s Christian minority, those rights are likely to remain every bit as theoretical as they have been in the past,” he added.