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Egypt lawyer calls for Christian adoption law

Egypt lawyer calls for Christian adoption law
by Charles Boyd
Posted: Friday, March 20, 2009, 12:39 (GMT)
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A lawyer is calling on the Egyptian Government to pass a law allowing Christians to adopt children.
Naguib Gobraiel is supporting a couple who have been imprisoned for fraud following their attempts to adopt a Christian boy in secret.
Gobraiel said that he believed the state was trying to send a message to Christians in the country that they may not adopt children. "I think that the first criminal in this case is the state," the lawyer told Reuters.
He claimed that Islamic restrictions on adoption prevented Christians from adopting the children of Christians in Egypt.
"The wife is Christian, the husband is Christian and the child or the children are Christians … I think that the state is pushing us to commit a crime."
In Egypt there is no legal mechanism for families of any faith to adopt children. As a result most adopted children do not receive legal guardianship due to social, religious and legal structures.
Under Islamic law families may not give their name to children they bring into their homes.
Naguib Gobraiel is representing the family of Medhat Bedada and his US-born wife Susan Haglof. The couple have been charged with committing fraud by acquiring a birth certificate and passport for their adopted child, which indicated he was their biological child.
The pair were arrested after they refused a DNA test to confirm that they were the child’s parents, while they were applying for a visa for the child at the US embassy.
Gobraiel said, "When I was in the court, I said to the judge ... Susan is Christian, Medhat is Christian, Mark (the child) is Christian, and their religion allows adopting. Why are you obliged to follow the Islamic law?"
He added that he feared his clients would not receive a fair trial, "The government is afraid of some child, who may be Muslim, (being) given to a Christian family and after that may be Christian in the future. I think this is the strong motive for the government to make this case."
2009 Mar 20