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Egypt’s Christian Women Treated Like Muslims in Inheritance. Until Now?

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Meanwhile, Coptic activist who insists true religious equality does not yet exist goes to prison on terrorism charges.

Coptic lawyer Huda Nasrallah may have won a great victory for Christian women in Egypt. Last week, a Cairo court ruled in her favor, dividing the family inheritance equally between her and her two brothers.

But a few days earlier, Coptic activist Rami Kamel may have suffered a great setback for all Egyptian believers. He was arrested for his reporting of sectarian tension, and accused of joining a terrorist group.

How should these events be interpreted?

Nasrallah’s verdict followed the decision of two other courts to reject her appeal on the basis of the sharia law stipulation that a male heir receive two-thirds of the inheritance.

This past summer, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) took up her cause. In a campaign called “Christian on ID card, Muslim in Inheritance,” it claimed millions of Coptic women suffer similarly.

Coptic men are sometimes all too willing to go along with it, Nasrallah told the Associated Press. But she is “thrilled” by the verdict, and hopes it will inspire other women.

“It is not really about inheritance; my father did not leave us millions of Egyptian pounds,” she said. “If I didn’t take it to court, who would?”

Many have. A similar verdict was issued in 2016, but it did not succeed in establishing a precedent. Girgis Bebawy, a Coptic lawyer, has failed dozens of times, though according to the AP one of his current cases is due to be argued before the Constitutional Court, the nation’s highest.

Might Nasrallah’s novel approach make a difference now?

Rather than appealing to civil, secular equality, Nasrallah based her case on religion. Egypt’s 1938 Coptic Orthodox personal status regulations state that inheritance …

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Source: Christianity Today Magazine

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