A Jordanian Christian widow triumphs in a custody battle.

By April 14, 2005

Jordan (MNN)–Open Doors is reporting triumph for a Jordanian Christian widow.

The Amman court of Islamic law revoked the legal guardianship of the children’s Muslim uncle and ordered him to repay misspent funds to the orphans’ trust accounts.

The childrens’ mother, Siham Qandah, has been in custody court battles for seven years. Qandah’s daughter, Rawan, and son, Fadi, now 16 and 15, lost their father 11 years ago when he died as a soldier in the U.N. peacekeeping forces in Kosovo.

When their mother went to claim their army orphan benefits, a local court produced an unsigned “conversion” certificate, claiming that her Christian husband had secretly converted to Islam three years before his death, says Compass.

The certificate could not be contested under Islamic law, so Qandah was forced to find a Muslim to handle financial matters for the children. Despite their baptism as Christians, both were automatically declared Muslims under the dictums of Islamic law.

Al-Muhtadi, the widow’s estranged brother who had converted to Islam as a teenager, agreed to serve as their legal Muslim guardian.

Over the next few years, he withdrew nearly half of their trust funds by obtaining signed approvals from highly placed Islamic court judges. Then in 1998, he filed suit to take custody of the children away from their Christian mother in order to raise them as Muslims.

After a four-year court battle, Jordan’s Supreme Islamic Court ruled in his favor, ordering Qandah to give her children over to al-Muhtadi’s custody.

With the nightmarish journey through the court system and fears that Qandah could lose her children for good, the mother waited with bated breath for the verdict in the latest round of court skirmishes.

When Judge Mahmud Zghl handed down his verdict against Abdullah al-Muhtadi, relief was immediate. But the threat isn’t completely gone. The former guardian has the right to appeal the judgment within 30 days.

Compass Direct spoke to Qandah following the verdict. “I still can’t believe it!” she said, laughing and crying. “I am so happy, I am just speechless. I can’t even describe my emotions.”

Open Doors has been appealing for prayers and letters on her behalf for years. ODM-USA President Dr. Carl Moeller says, “This is another instance where the power of consistent prayer has made a difference in the lives of persecuted Christians around the world.”

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