Hundreds of worshipers protested in front of Amr Ibn al-Aas Mosque yesterday after Eid prayers, demanding the appearance of camillia Shehata, wife of Tedaous Samaan, pastor of Minya's Dayr Mawwas Monastery. Security forces prevented an identical protest from taking place at the same time in front of the Mustafa Mahmoud Mosque.
Shehata was imprisoned in the monastery after security forces delivered her to the church following news of her conversion to Islam and desertion of her husband.
The protesters were questioning the authenticity of a video that appeared yesterday on a number of websites. The video shows a woman, claiming to be Shehata, denying she had converted to Islam and reassuring viewers she was still a Christian. The protestors also queried the validity of the statement from the minister of the interior, which was aired on Nile TV International and some radio stations, affirming both the accuracy of the video and the claim that she had not converted to Islam.
Protesters chanted slogans condemning the government’s inaction and helplessness in the face of the church, as well as the silence of the grand sheikh of Azhar on the matter. The chants included, “Why is Azhar’s sheikh silent…is he with them or what?” and “If camillia is well and fine as you say then let her show herself.”
The protesters also carried signs encouraging Muslims to “free your Muslim sister from the Church’s grip” and flyers were distributed calling for the liberation of female Muslim prisoners locked up in churches and monasteries. They compared what is happening in Egypt to what happened to Muslims after the fall of Andalusia and they called on President Mubarak, Dr. Ahmed al-Tayib and Azhar’s Grand Sheikh to intervene and compel the Church to conform to Egyptian law.
Security forces made up of anti-riot, anti-terrorism and special forces imposed tight security on the demonstration, which lasted nearly half an hour. All streets leading to the Mosque were barricaded off by troops from central security.
Translated from the Arabic Edition