Calls to return kidnapped Coptic girl

17-05-2016 09:28 PM

Nader Shukry

There have been vehement demands by Copts in Beni Mazar, Minya, Upper

Egypt, as well as by Coptic and rights activists that the police should find and

bring back home a 15-year- old Coptic girl Mariam Ayman Eid who disappeared

more than a week ago.

Rumours have been circulating that the girl was kidnapped by a young Muslim

man; in typical cases Coptic underage women are made to convert to Islam then

marry their kidnappers.

Ihab Ramzy, a Coptic lawyer and Minya politician, says that the Child Law in

Egypt prohibits anyone under the age of 18 to take such life-changing decisions

as marriage or conversion. “Mariam Eid should thus be promptly found and

handed to her family,” Mr Ramzy said. “Even if she was not technically

‘kidnapped’, the young man who seduced her is answerable before the law for

having seduced a minor.”

It is not difficult for the police to find the girl, Mr Ramzy insisted. If they do

not, they should bear all responsibility for any harm that befalls her.

A similar incident had occurred earlier this month in the village of al-Gadaat in

Girga, Sohag, some 550km south of Cairo, where a Coptic teenager a few

weeks shy of her 18th birthday left home with a young Muslim man. Her family

reported the matter to the police who duly found her and returned her to her

home. The Muslims in the village attempted a protest on claims that the girl,

who goes by the name of Mary, was said to have converted. But the local

politicians and security officials were able to contain the matter, stressing the

illegality of any such conversion.

WATANI International

17 May 2016

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