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Viewing cable 09CAIRO1226, HIGH COURT GRANTS CUSTODY TO CHRISTIAN MOTHER, BUT RULES CHILDREN ARE MUSLIMS REF: A. CAIRO 1109 B. CAIRO 485 C. CAIRO 477 D. 07 CAIRO 2622 E. 07 CAIRO 1427 Classified By: Economic-Political Minister-Counselor William R. Stewart for reason 1.4 (d).

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO1226 2009-06-30 12:12 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO2372
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1226 1811249
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 301249Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3053
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 001226 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR NEA/ELA AND DRL/IRF 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2029 
TAGS: PHUM KIRF SOCI EG
SUBJECT: HIGH COURT GRANTS CUSTODY TO CHRISTIAN MOTHER, BUT RULES CHILDREN ARE MUSLIMS REF: A. CAIRO 1109 B. CAIRO 485 C. CAIRO 477 D. 07 CAIRO 2622 E. 07 CAIRO 1427 Classified By: Economic-Political Minister-Counselor William R. Stewart for reason 1.4 (d).
1.(U) On June 15, the Court of Cassation, Egypt's highest appeals court, granted Kamilia Lotfy custody of her 14 year-old twin sons Andrew and Mario Ramsis, overruling a September 2008 Alexandria Appeals Court decision that gave custody to the boys' father following his conversion from Christianity to Islam. Ms. Lotfy remains Christian. The appeals court had ruled that upon reaching the age of seven a child must be transferred to the custody of a Muslim father. The Court of Cassation ruling affirmed for the first time the right of a non-Muslim mother to retain custody of her child until the age of 15, even when the father converts to Islam. However, the Court of Cassation upheld its precedent in previous cases that when one parent converts to Islam, the state automatically considers his or her children under the age of 15 to be Muslim.

2.(U) On June 21, The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) released a statement welcoming the court's decision to grant custody to Ms. Lotfy, but criticizing the ruling for falling "short of striking down the discriminatory policy of forcibly changing the religious affiliation of Christian children in official documents when their father converts to Islam." The statement noted that the court "accepted the Public Prosecutor's argument that family courts may not rely solely on the mother's Christian faith to deprive her of custody over her children following her ex-husband's conversion to Islam."

3.(C) XXXXXXXXXXXX SCOBEY
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