The Coptic activist movement Shabab Christian has petitioned Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar and top officials in the southern governorate of Minya to intervene so that the 17-year-old Coptic girl Susanna Reda Thabet who recently disappeared may be found and returned to her family.
The girl’s father, who is blind and is a cantor at the church of the Holy Virgin in the village of Hassan Basha in Samalout, Minya, says that two young men riding a tuc-tuc kidnapped the girl at 1pm on 31 January while on her way home from a visit to an aunt who lives 5km away.
Some 500 villagers from Hassan Basha demonstrated on Wednesday 3 February in front of Minya governorate building demanding the return of the teenager. At 10pm, Minya Governor Tarek Hassan Nasr met representatives of the protestors and promised the girl would be returned to her family in 48 hours.
Rumours have been circulating in the village that the girl was having a romance with a young Muslim man, and that he was the alleged abductor. Such romances between Muslim men and Christian women are known to occasionally occur; the women frequently leave home, convert to Islam, and marry the men. Problems arise, however, when the women are underage, meaning they are in no position—both legally and socially—to take such life changing decisions as conversion or marriage. According to Egyptian law, the underage woman should be handed to her family. If the girl fears her family and wishes to stay away, the girl is handed to the Church.
Susanna’s family and friends fear that if the girl is not found soon, her abductors may hide her a few months till she is 18 years old when she can legally get married. She was born on 18 July 1998.
5 February 2016