10 Jul Nagla al-Imam, convert to Christianity, sings about religious persecution
This is an extraordinarily courageous YouTube video of Nagla Al-Imam, an Egyptian attorney and prominent human rights activist, who has recently converted from Islam to Christ. In this video she sings a spiritual song together with her two children, asking Christ to hold their hands and strengthen them as they go through the high waves of persecution.
Ms Al-Imam posted a video (http://www.youtube.com/v/_PhfILjJBtY&hl=en_US&fs=1) after she was bashed by the Egyptian security forces: the bruises are clearly visible on her face, and she can barely open her mouth to sing.
In a video interview posted on July 8 with Free Christian Voice, Ms Al-Imam reported that she was taken into custody by the Egyptian security forces. The colonel took her by the hair and bashed her head against his desk, which is the reason for the bruises on her face. She also broke a tooth. She says that the colonel tightened the chain around her neck, mocking her cross on the chain, and told her to watch her neck. She also said that he told her if she dares to come out of her house he will send some “women” and she should be expecting what will happen to her then. She said that she has not worked for the past year and she has been threatened with being deregistered as a lawyer, and false statements have been made on her behalf to defame her.
According to Islamic law, any Muslim who leaves Islam loses custody of their children. The children are to be placed in the custody of a Muslim relative. This is one of the points made in apostasy fatwas (rulings) issued by the Chief Scholar of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute, His Excellency Shaykh Sa‘id Hijjawi, during the time when he was Grand Mufti of Jordan (from 1992-2007). (The Aal al-Bayt Institute was the sponsor of the Common Word letter to the Christian world.)
Islam is the only world religion which demands that people who leave it should be killed. As a graduate of Al-Azhar university, Ms Al-Imam is an expert in Sharia law. She knows this. Also, Ms Al-Imam’s decision to sing this song with her children would have been done in the full knowledge that, even if she escapes with her life, she is liable to lose custody of her children. Moreover, as an apostate from Islam, Ms Al-Imam has become a legal non-person. She would be unable to act in her own defense in a court of law, and has most likely lost any capacity to earn her living as a lawyer.
Ms Al-Imam would have been fully aware of the risk of losing her children when she converted to Christianity. This video has a similar function to the tattooed cross on the wrists of Coptic Christians: it is a declaration of faith in Christ no matter what may happen. The fact that her children are singing in this video shows that they share their mother’s Christian faith. She is, I believe, asking the world to pay attention to their fate, and has established a visible witness to the children in the future, should they be taken from her and forced to re-accept Islam.
Nagla Al-Imam has declared on the internet that she will not flee, but is determined to stay in Egypt. (See article by Nonie Darwish from August 2009).
You can sign a petition on line here for the support of the freedom of religion in the Muslim world. Your voice will count in removing the suffering of those who suffer for choosing to follow their conscience by leaving Islam. Please take a moment to sign this petition and pass this message on to others who may be willing to sign.
Mark Durie is the founding director of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness, a Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Senior Research Fellow of the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at the Melbourne School of Theology.