Seven Coptic families from the village of Ali Basha in Shousha, Samalout, Minya, some 250km south of Cairo, have fled their village in fear of violence that may erupt against them on account of the return of a young Coptic woman who had left the village in April 2018, converted to Islam, and married a Muslim. News had spread in the village that the woman was returning home with her husband to live in his extended family’s home, which is adjacent to the home of her Coptic family. The Copts feared that celebrations of her homecoming would turn into a violent spate against them, given that they had waged several protests when the 26-year-old Fresna Youssef Abdel-Sayed had gone missing last year, demanding that the police should bring her home. Soon enough, however, the woman had placed on her Facebook page that she had converted to Islam and married her Muslim neighbour Shaaban Ibrahim Touni.
The Coptic villagers claim that they had been receiving threats from their gloating Muslim neighbours once it was known that the convert was returning home with her husband. They informed the police, but preferred to leave in peace instead of running any risks. They went to lodge with relatives in neighbouring villages.
The Coptic families who left the village are those of Farag Kamel Faragallah; Freig Kamel Faragallah; Edward Youssef Abdel-Sayed; Elishaa Youssef Abdel-Sayed; Emil Youssef Abdel-Sayed; Youssef Abdel-Sayed; Kyrillos Senout Nashed Abdullah; and Marcos Nashed Abdullah.
The police have questioned three men from the family of the woman’s husband, and two Copts from among her relatives.
27 February 2019