By Essam Fadl
CAIRO: Kamelia Shehata appeared on TV Saturday evening to confirm that she has not converted to Islam as reported and has been living with her husband and son in Minya, Upper Egypt.
Shehata, a priest’s wife, was said to have left her husband and converted to Islam. Muslim fundamental groups alleged that she was later kidnapped by the church and prevented from public appearances. The claim has for months sparked protests calling for her “release.”
“I was born Coptic and will die Coptic. I was never held by the church at any time.” Shehata told Coptic satellite channel, Al-Hayat.
Protests by Salafis asking for her release were behind her disappearance, she added.
“I never wore niqab (full face veil) or hijab (head scarf) and my photo on the internet with hijab is fabricated,” Shehata added. “This issue got me closer to Christ who protected me all the time and He is the only one willing to protect me.”
Meanwhile, Shehata’s lawyer Naguib Gobrael threatened to withdraw from her case if she declined to appear before the prosecution as she was summoned to confirm her faith. He expressed his dismay that she appeared on a Coptic channel in a statement he released on Saturday.
“I knew of her appearance on Al-Hayat Coptic channel from media and could not reach her,” Gobrael said.
“I always urged her to appear on an Egyptian channel, preferably state TV,” he added.
“I know she is under severe psychological pressure, but I cannot move on with her case if she is taking decisions without consulting with me,” he told Daily News Egypt.