We must keep a close eye on how the new rulers of Egypt treat Muslims who might want to convert to the peaceful creed of Christianity. Although, Egypt has been one of the very few Muslim countries where a convert to Christianity is not killed or imprisoned, there have been many stories like the one below.
It has been more than 22 years since Tito Momen was arrested in Cairo, Egypt, for converting from Islam to Christianity. At that time, Momen, who was being trained to become a leader among clerics and struggling with alcohol problems, says he knew that being a Christian in Cairo was a dangerous situation.
"I knew that they would be very mad and disappointed in me," Momen says about his conversion. "In the community, they couldn't forgive me."
The Egyptian Constitution seemingly allows for religious freedom, but the government does not recognize Muslim conversions to Christianity, or the Mormon church at all, even though a branch has been operating in Cairo for almost 40 years.
That unrest continues today. In April, a mob attacked the main cathedral of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo during a funeral. Shortly after Egyptian President Mohammaed Morsi was overthrown in the summer, there had been almost 40 attacks on Coptic Christian establishments -- schools, churches, businesses -- in the two days following the raids on pro-Morsi encampments. Last month, a drive-by shooting on a wedding party at the Church of the Virgin Mary in suburban Cairo killed three and left 18 wounded.
"What's happening in Egypt has only gotten worse since I was there," he says.
The following is an excerpt from Momen and Jeff Benedict's book, "My Name Used to Be Muhammad: The True Story of a Muslim Who Became a Christian," which was released this week. The book details Momen's 15-year imprisonment in Egypt for converting from Islam to Christianity. His story is a unique intersection of Islam and Mormonism, the two fastest growing religions in the U.S. News of his conversion, which was reported by his wife to the Muslim Brotherhood, resulted in serious consequences. ....