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A woman in Egypt says she has won the legal right to receive the same inheritance as her brothers, even though under Islamic Sharia inheritance laws female heirs inherit half the amount their male relatives do.
Huda Nasrallah, a Coptic Christian, built her case around the Christian doctrine of equal inheritance.
Up until now, Sharia had been used in personal status law in Egypt regardless of a person’s religion. However, this verdict could set a precedent.
Ms Nasrallah, who works as a lawyer herself, says she is now due to receive the same share of her father’s inheritance as her brothers, who supported her claim.
According to the AP news agency, Ms Nasrallah said: “It is not really about inheritance, my father did not leave us millions of Egyptian pounds. I have the right to ask to be treated equally as my brothers.”
Rights activist Ishak Ibrahim told BBC News: “The law assumes that if the [Christian] inheritance beneficiaries agree on applying the Christian laws, the [inheritance] is divided equally. If they disagree, Islamic Sharia is applied.”
Unequal inheritance laws are an ongoing issue in Arab countries following a proposed bill in Tunisia last year aimed at creating equality.
The Coptic Church is the main authority on marriages and divorces for its estimated 10 million followers in Egypt, but inheritance laws remain the preserve of the state.