Source: International Herald Tribune/The Associated Press
CAIRO: An Egyptian Muslim who converted to Christianity and then took the unprecedented step of seeking official recognition for the change said he has gone into hiding following death threats.
The man, Mohammed Hegazy, who sparked controversy when pictures of him posing with a poster of the Virgin Mary were published in newspapers, was shunned by his family and threatened by an Islamist cleric vowing to seek his execution as an apostate.
"I know there are fatwas to shed my blood, but I will not give up and I will not leave the country," the 25-year-old Hegazy said in an interview from his hideout.
Hegazy caused turmoil when he took the unusual step of going to court to change his religion on his national ID card. His first lawyer filed the case, but then quit after the uproar; his second is still considering whether it is worth pursuing.
Hegazy said he received telephoned death threats before he went into hiding in an apartment with his wife, a Muslim who took the name Katarina when she converted to Christianity several years ago. She is four months pregnant.