Christian convert stands for trial

A Cairo criminal court on Tuesday commenced the trial of a woman who converted from Islam to Christianity by allegedly using fabricated documents.

Judicial sources said Siham Mahmoud, 28, is charged with falsifying her ID card and university certificates. She is accused of changing her officially recorded name to Christine Abdel Mesiah and her officially recorded religion to Christianity.

The court adjourned the trial to February.

According to judicial sources, documents in the case show that Mahmoud converted with the help of a group known for its proselytizing activities. She was intending to travel abroad, the sources said.

Egyptian authorities arrested Mahmoud on 5 April.

Christian websites say that Mahmoud embraced Christianity in 2004 and attended a church near her family’s house, until her father discovered she had converted to Christianity. He then tried to get her married, but she ran away from home.

Analysts say proselytization in Egypt commonly happens through foreign organizations. Many television channels broadcast from the US, as well as preachers airing programs via internet applications such as Skype, attempt to entice Muslims to the Christian faith.

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