Egypt Brother Discovers "Kidnapped" Christian Sister

Thursday, April 6, 2006

By BosNewsLife News Center

CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife) -- After three months, an Egyptian Christian has reportedly discovered his "kidnapped" sister living with a Muslim family near her hometown and professing faith in Islam, BosNewsLife monitored Wednesday, April 5.

Following a brief telephone message from 19-year old Theresa Ghattass Kamal saying she was held against her will and forced to convert to Islam, Sa’eed Ghattass Kamal found his sister’s suspected captors in the Bedouin desert area of El-Ga’ar, near his home in Wadi El-Natroun, 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Cairo, Christian news agency Compass Direct said.

The case has underscored concerns among diplomats and human rights groups over what they see as widespread abductions of Coptic girls in Egypt, who are forced to convert to Islam.

Mo’atazz Mohammad Sa’eed allegedly first refused to let Kamal see his sister when the Christian arrived at his home March 23. But he later relented after Kamal insisted he only wanted to make sure his sister was safe, Compass Direct reported.


With only her eyes showing through her veil and flanked by Sa’eed, his two brothers and his father, Theresa Kamal sat with her brother for 90 minutes but only spoke once, Kamal was quoted as saying.

“I have converted to Islam. I have found the right path,” she reportedly told her brother in a trembling voice. But Kamal and his lawyer, Athanasius William, reportedly said that the Christian woman’s conversion has not yet been registered at Cairo’s Al-Azhar Islamic Center.

Egyptian law requires that all conversions be registered at Al-Azhar and then validated with the security police, the State Security Investigation (SSI). She has not yet fulfilled the legal requirement of meeting with a Coptic priest before converting to Islam. William said that if the “kidnappers” attempted to register her conversion, he would contest the move on legal grounds.


Egyptian security forces have apparently not intervened and officials were not immediately available for comment. Coptic Christians comprise at least 10 percent of the Egyptian population. While it is illegal for Egypt’s Muslims to convert to Christianity, "kidnap conversions" to Islam have long been the subject of debate in the country, analysts say.

In recent years both Muslim and Christian families in rural Upper Egypt have reportedly abused and at times killed daughters if they believed that the young women had been sexually compromised during the kidnapping, Compass Direct said. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from Egypt).

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