Egypt’s religious adviser says Muslims can change religion
CAIRO: Egypt’s official religious adviser has ruled that Muslims are free to change their faith as it is a matter between an individual and God, in a move which could have far-reaching implications for the country’s Christians.
“The essential question before us is that can a person who is a Muslim choose a religion other than Islam? The answer is yes, they can,” Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said in a posting on a Washington Post-Newsweek forum picked up by the Egyptian press on Tuesday. “The act of abandoning one’s religion is a sin punishable by God on the Day of Judgement. If the case in question is one of merely rejecting faith, then there is no worldly punishment,” he wrote.
Gomaa warned however that if the conversions undermine the “foundations of society” then it must be dealt with by the judicial system, without elaborating. In September, Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court is to hear the case of 12 Copts who converted to Islam and have been prevented by the state from reverting to Christianity on the grounds that it is apostasy. afp
But then he denied it:
Top cleric denies 'freedom to choose religion' comment
By Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent
Published: July 24, 2007, 23:05
Cairo: Egypt's top cleric yesterday denied in a statement that he had said a Muslim can give up his faith without punishment.
Ali Goma'a, the mufti of Egypt, was quoted as saying in a posting on a Washington Post-Newsweek forum that Muslims are free to change their faith and this is a matter between an individual and God.
"What I actually said is that Islam prohibits a Muslim from changing his religion and that apostasy is a crime, which must be punished," Goma'a said.
The alleged fatwa coincides with an uproar over the case of 12 Egyptians who converted to Islam from Christianity and now want to re-embrace Christianity.
"There is a campaign by secularists to distort the image of Dr Ali Goma'a," a senior official in Al Azhar told Gulf News.
"He cannot deny punishment in this life for the apostate," said Mustafa Al Chaka of the Islamic Research Centre.
Hat-tip to Little Bird Shaik. Comments are off for this post.