(AINA) -- Egyptian police and armed forces were heavily deployed
around St, Mark's Cathedral in Cairo yesterday as Coptic Pope Shenouda
III delivered his weekly sermon to nearly 10,000 church members. The
sermon was also attended by the media and Muslim journalists to show
their opposition to the Salafis and the actions against the church. A
large number of veiled Muslim women were also in attendance.
of Coptic Christians also guarded the Cathedral. The Maspero Coptic
Youth Federation announced they will guard the Cathedral until Friday
because the Salafis warned they will stage this Friday another
demonstration in front of it, to "free" the Christian converts to Islam
whom the church detains.
websites had warned Copts not to attend today's sermon and had called
for retaliatory action against the Cathedral during the sermon in
response to the church's decision not to release Camellia Shehata, who
Muslims believe has converted to Islam and is being held against her
The Pope's sermon was titled "Forgive" and stressed the
virtue of being good to the offenders. The Pope said every human being
sins, even the saints, and "forgive the people so that you are
Thousands of Salafists staged a march to the cathedral
last Friday to demand the appearance of Camellia Shehata and Wafaa
Constantine, both wives of clergy, whom they claim converted to Islam.
The church has denied they converted to Islam (AINA 4-30-2011).
The prosecutor requested of the appearance of Camellia to investigate
the claims that she was allegedly kidnapped and detained by the Church.
She is expected to appear before them in the very near future.
said she was 100% Christian, is proud of her religion, has not
converted to Islam and never went to AlAzhar for conversion," said Dr.
Naguib Gobraeel, her attorney. "She confirmed that she had had a
misunderstanding with her husband, Father Tedaos, and left their home
and stayed a few days with some relations, until friends and relatives
intervened and reconciled them." Dr. Naguib Gobraeel said she now lives a
quiet and happy life with her husband and her two and half year old son
Anton in Cairo.
Gobraeel said he advised Camellia to appear in
the media to refute the claims of her conversion to Islam and that she
is being held by the church, but she refused. He added that Camellia
told him that her biggest wish is to return to the simple life, like any
normal Egyptian woman, away from the media and the dispute between
Copts and Muslims regarding her.
By Mary Abdelmassih