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.
17 May 2016