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Egypt: New Family Law for Christians to Be Drafted Following Contentious Court Decision

(June 29, 2010) On June 13, 2010, the Ministry of Justice of Egypt established a committee to compose a draft law regulating marriage and divorce for Christians. The purpose of this initiative is to help alleviate the anger expressed by the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church after a Supreme Administrative Court ruling allowed divorced Christians who had committed adultery to remarry in a religious ceremony.

The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church opposed the verdict issued by the Supreme Administrative Court permitting a second marriage of divorced Christians. The Court decision also requires the church to conduct a religious ceremony for this second marriage. The Church head described the verdict as a violation of the bible's teaching concerning cases of divorce in Christianity. The Church forbids divorce or remarriage except in cases of adultery. It grants permission for remarriage only to the non-adulterous spouse, while it bans the adulterer from remarrying in the Church.

To resolve the discontent stemming from the Court's decision, the Ministry of Justice created a committee, composed of an array of legal and religious Christian scholars, to put together a draft family law governing marriage and divorce among Christians. (A Draft Law Governing Marriage for Christians of Egypt [in Arabic],مشروع قانون ينظم زواج أقباط مصر, ALJAZEERA.NET (June 14, 2010),