Coptic Christian Mariam Waheeb and her daughter were kidnapped on April in Beni Suef Province, Egypt. Authorities were able to reunite Waheeb and her daughter back with their family in the early hours. Waheeb works as a teacher and is a well-known and active Christian at Anba Antonious Church.
While traveling to a clinic, the two were kidnapped. A social media went viral several days after the kidnapping on April 13 where Waheeb announced her conversion to Islam. However, it was clear to many, including her husband Joseph Saad, that the video was done under pressure. In the video, Waheeb held a conversion certificate dated the day of her kidnapping. It is unlikely that, had it been a true instance of conversion, she could have traveled to al-Azhar and received the certificate the same day.
Saad commented on the video saying, “I’m fully aware of my wife and she speaks in a tone full of sadness and fear, which confirms that this video was filmed under pressure. If my wife was free to choose, they would allow us to meet her so that we can hear from her.” The video also captures the cries of someone in the background, identified to likely be their young daughter. Authorities were able to locate Mariam Waheeb and her daughter and bring them safely back home not long after the video.
The news of the kidnapping of the Coptic Christian woman comes after Priest Arsanious was killed on April in Alexandria. Reports of Christians being refused food at restaurants before iftar, the breaking of the daily fast during the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, have also surfaced.
Pope Tawadros II released several statements regarding the recent persecution against Christians in Egypt. He commented, “We hope to control cases of disappearances and kidnappings, which need transparency due to their sensitivity and negatively affect the cohesion and unity of the homeland, and the matter needs serious attention. Hopefully this will be the way in such cases.”