World News

Iraqi court forces Christian mother and daughters to convert to Islam

The decision was based on the interpretation of Iraq’s Personal Status Law which mandates that children must adopt Islam if one of their parents converts.

Christian mother, Elvin Joseph, who resides in Duhok in the Kurdistan Region, was shocked when her mother revealed that she had converted to Islam after her divorce and instant remarriage to a Muslim man.

Sami Patros, Joseph’s husband, detailed the issues of the situation following a confrontation at the National Identity Card Office: “They said your mother-in-law had converted to Islam and, therefore, they said your wife should become Muslim too. This also applies to my children; their religion should be changed from Christianity to Islam.”

Elvin Joseph stated: “I am married to a Christian man. I have three Christian kids. My education was in our language. All my official documents are Christian. Our marriage is registered by the church.”

The controversial Iraqi Personal Status Law affects many areas of daily life, including marriages, religion, inheritance, and custodial rights. It also rules that if one spouse converts to Islam, Sharia law applies to both parties. A woman cannot marry a Christian man. 

Jeff King, the President of International Christian Concern, announced his disappointment regarding the Iraqi law system: “In an outrageous turn of events, an Iraqi court just ordered a Christian mother and her three children to convert to Islam in spite of the fact that she’s married to a Christian man. The U.S. spent $800 billion and lost 4,500 military personnel across two wars in an effort to bring democracy to Iraq. I would suggest that this latest incident of the Iraqi government would warrant the attention and action of the highest levels of the State Dept. After all, we give Iraq $260 million in aid every year. A large chunk of that money is stolen by its leaders for their overseas villas and children’s tuition at the world’s top universities. Perhaps we could impress on them that we would like to see just a small return on that investment by restraining their errant colleagues in the Iraqi court.”

Akram Mikhail, a lawyer skilled in defending Christian families in similar dilemmas, stated: “This forces someone to convert to Islam, with force. I am not an expert in Islam, but it is in Islam that one cannot force the religion onto others.”


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