New! Promotional DVD about AV
Although new changes may happen quickly in the Arab world, causing our new promo to be outdated soon again, we launched our new 7 minutes video on the Arab world and the ministry of Arab Vision. You can watch it here and download it. Please feel free to use it to share our ministry with your friends, family and your church. To cover the cost of the production of this promo, your (small) donation is welcome!
Missiology for Arabs
Arab Vision is the owner of a webzine for missiological thinking in the Arab World, called St Francis Magazine. You may want to go there regularly for the great articles that we publish. This magazine is a project that we share with Interserve.
Egyptian Court Denies ID Change
An Egyptian man, who earlier this year became the first Muslim to receive a conversion certificate from the Coptic Church, has been denied the right to change the religious status on his ID card by a court in Egypt. His legal team is preparing to appeal the ruling.
Maher Al-Gohari has been involved in a legal battle to officially change his religious registration from Islam to Christianity so that both he and his daughter may be identified as Christians. He made headlines in April when he received the first ever conversion certificate from the church in Egypt, but on Saturday 13 June, an Egyptian court ruled against him on the actual identity card change matter.
According to Middle East Concern (MEC), human rights advocates present at the trial reported that Maher's application failed on both procedural and substantive grounds. Firstly, the certificate of conversion given to him by a Coptic priest had not been certified by the Coptic Orthodox Church, making it invalid. Secondly, while Egypt's Civil Code provides a procedure for the amendment of identity cards, the procedure requires submission of legal documents substantiating the need for any amendment. Because conversion from Islam to Christianity is not a legal concept, there is no competent body to offer Maher the necessary documents.
The judge accepted a State Council report which states that the religious conversion of a Muslim is against Islamic law and poses a threat to public order. A member of Maher's legal team commented that the State Council report fails to recognise both the Civil Code provisions and Egypt's commitments under international law to uphold religious freedom, and is instead based solely on Islamic principles and the concern to preserve public order
Maher's legal team is preparing to appeal this ruling. National human rights groups are confident of an appeal succeeding based on the fact that the judge's interpretation of the Civil Code was very restrictive.
Report of the first issuing of a conversion certificate in Egypt - April 13, 2009
A Muslim man has received a conversion certificate from the Coptic Church for the first time in Egypt, according to a report in the Daily News Egypt. This is a very significant development in the ongoing debate on the right to change one’s religion on Egyptian ID cards.
The man, Maher Al-Gohari, needed the certificate from the church in order to verify to the court that he had converted from Islam to Christianity and request the change to be made on his ID card. Converting to Christianity remains a very sensitive issue in Egypt: officially it is not illegal, but securing the necessary paperwork and approval for it has so far proved impossible. This is the second time a conversion certificate has been requested. Last year, a court rejected a similar request from Mohamed Hegazy to change his ID status from Muslim to Christian.
Arab Vision is monitoring these developments in Egypt very closely, watching for further ramifications that could impact the freedom and rights of many of its Muslim TV viewers who are drawn to Christ through its programs. “It will be very interesting to see how Gohari’s case proceeds,” said Arab Vision’s international director. “We hope that it will pave the way for genuine freedom for Arab men and women to follow Christ and worship Him freely, without any backlash or hidden agendas.”
The Coptic Church in Egypt, which is one of the oldest branches of Christianity in the world, would not comment on Gohari’s case specifically, but said, "In general, the church cannot turn away anyone who reaches out to it, otherwise it would be abandoning one of its roles as a church." Arab Vision is heartened by the bold stance the church is taking in essentially admitting that it is allowing Muslims to come through its doors and aiding in their conversion. “We think the Church is brave to formally admit that it is converting and baptizing Muslims. It may be impossible for those in western countries to imagine and understand how sensitive this is for the churches in the Arab World. We are so encouraged to see the Egyptian Church choosing to obey Christ rather than men,” added Arab Vision’s director.
Christians in Egypt are estimated to make up around 10 percent of the 80 million inhabitants. They constitute the largest Christian community in the Arab World. The relationship between Egypt’s Muslim and Christian communities has recently gone through tense times because of clashes and violent acts.
Please pray for sufficient and timely donations we need to produce a series of evangelistic Christmas programs.
You make the difference!
Your decision makes a difference in the Arab World. Your financial support for our ministry impacts Arab Muslims. How to do this? You can find all necessary information HERE
New book: Godly Leadership
What is lacking in many leaders is spiritual depth, writes Dr. David P. Teague. He has forty years of experience as a pastoral and mission leader. Very valuable book! Read more...