CAIRO: In response to protests by Muslims accusing the church of forcibly holding a priest’s wife who allegedly converted to Islam, Pope Shenouda said he won’t allow her to appear in media to deny her conversion, a church lawyer said.
Naguib Gobrael, a legal advisor for the church, told Daily News Egypt that the Pope completely refused the idea of Kamelia’s Shehata’s appearance in media.
"Kamelia is a Christian woman," said Gobrael. "The Church is not obliged to make her appear in the media to deny conversion to Islam because this is not true."
Shehata, 25, the wife of Tadros Samaan, the Priest of Saint Mark’s Church in Mowas Cathedral in Minya, had disappeared from her hometown for a few days in July before returning to the church.
At the time, sources inside the church denied any rumors of her conversion and said that she had left following a domestic dispute.
Muslim protesters gathered last Friday and Saturday in front of Al-Nour Mosque, a couple of hundred meters away from Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Abbaseya, condemning what they described as "the church’s kidnapping of Shehata".
The protestors also called for the interference of Al-Azhar and "complying with its duty towards Shehata after her conversion to Islam".
Meanwhile, a group of lawyers filed a complaint on Saturday at the Administrative Court to unveil where Shehata’s being held.
Moreover, Muslim Brotherhood MP Zakareya El-Ganainy submitted to the People’s Assembly a request for questioning the Prime Minister and Ministers of Interior and Media, urging them to investigate the detention of Shehata.
The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) called for investigating the case in a statement released on Monday on the National Day of Forced Disappearance.
ANHRI said that following Shehata’s disappearance, security forces located her and handed her to her family, who in turn handed her to the church.
"The church detained her in a monastery, which is considered an enforced disappearance illegal according to the UN until Shehata appears in the media declaring her legitimate demands."
The Orthodox Church’s legal advisor Ramsis El-Naggar, however, denied Shehata’s detention.
"Shehata did not convert to Islam and is not detained in any monastery," he said. "She is staying in a church-owned guesthouse in Ain Shams upon her own wishes."