Shenouda was seized from his adoptive parents by the police and sent to an orphanage where he was given a Muslim Arabic name, Yousif, and is being taught the Islamic religion after a new birth certificate was issued, stating that Shenouda, now Yousif, is a Muslim.
” The Australian Coptic Movement Association (ACM) recognises the great challenge President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi is facing in governing Egypt.
The ACM also recognises the difficulty and complexity our Coptic Leaders in Egypt are facing in dealing with the multileveled persecution of Copts. However, the recent event of “baby Shenouda” brought back to the surface the biggest challenge of all:
the discrimination Indigenous Egyptians are facing under Islamic law of the Land in everyday of their lives. Baby Shenouda was abandoned inside a Coptic church in Egypt.
The then new-born baby was found by the Coptic priest of the church. The priest reasonably assumed that the child’s biological parents are Christians; if they were Muslims, they would have left the baby in front of a mosque.
The priest entrusted the baby to a couple in his congregation who received the baby as “God’s gift” or “a miracle baby”, as they had been trying for a baby for 29 years. The couple took the baby, baptised him in the Coptic church, named him Shenouda, a popular Coptic-Egyptian name, obtained a birth certificate that stated his religion as Christian, and they set off for a blessed chapter of their lives where baby Shenouda became the centre of their care and happiness. Four years later, the adoption incident came to the knowledge of Egyptian government institutions.
The adoption was declared to be illegal after a DNA test showed the baby is not the biological son of this couple.
Under Islamic laws, a child whose biological parents are unknown is considered to be a Muslim and it is illegal for Christians to adopt a Muslim child. The decision was made solely on the basis that since the biological parents are unknown then he must be treated as a Muslim by default. Shenouda was seized from his adoptive parents by the police and sent to an orphanage where he was given a Muslim Arabic name, Yousif,
and is being taught the Islamic religion after a new birth certificate was issued, stating that Shenouda, now Yousif, is a Muslim. The ACM is concerned about the well being of Shenouda, not only because of the trauma he has been exposed to at such a young age, bearing torn away from the only parents he has known, but also because of the very poor conditions of orphanages in Egypt. This is a tragic human story, a story that is but a part of the long-standing story of the persecution of the Copts.
Today the victim is a 4 year old child and his adoptive parents; yesterday, the victims were young women who were abducted by extremists, trafficked, and pressured to convert to Islam; last week the victims were burned alive in a church while worshiping Christ (with no known progress about any promised investigation); last month the victims were forced to leave their home town as a compensation to Muslims because a lone Christian man in the town had formed a relationship with a Muslim woman, a relationship forbidden by islamic law; last year, the victims were Coptic merchants whose shops were burned to the ground; last decade, the victim was a Coptic priest who dared to talk about his religion to a Muslim; last century the victims were men who refused to pay tribute to Muslims and paid with their lives; 1400 years ago the victims were the people of Egypt who were brutally enslaved by conquering Arab Muslim armies, converted at the point of a sword, and killed.
The ACM calls upon President Al Sisi and the Coptic leadership in Egypt to put all their good will into action and bring reconciliation to this wounded nation to stop the suffering of the millions of Copts who are the Indigenous people of Egypt.