Priest’s wife denies converting to Islam in questionable video clip

A number of websites have posted a video clip of a woman claiming to be Camilla Shehata, the wife of the Deir Mawas Church priest Thaddeus Samaan who is said to have been forced to return to the church after fleeing her husband and converting to Islam.

In the video, a woman sits in a room with a picture of Jesus Christ behind her. She says that she has a son who is two and a half years old, and that she is a science teacher at the Bani Salem School.

For 11 minutes she confirms her Christianity and denies rumors about her conversion to Islam a year and a half ago. She also rejects what Bishop Agabios of the Deir Mawas Church said about her having been brainwashed, asserting that the church is now "washing her washed brain.”

"I am talking to you of my full accord, and without any pressure or intimidation, in order to defend my husband, my child, and my religion," the woman says in the clip. "I have heard that I am detained in a church and that I have been brainwashed, but I assure you that I am in a safe place where I am taking a break from all that has been said."

She stresses that the church did not force anyone to remain Christian, and that it does not shock people with electricity, give them hallucinatory drugs, or brainwash them.

"I do not know about the Quran more than any other Christian, but I know the Bible and the Psalms," she said.

The woman also criticized church lawyer Naguib Gabriel for asking Pope Shenouda III to forbid the wives of priests from working. "How can they deprive us of our basic rights,” she asks.

"I disappeared for only two days,” she says to the camera. “Only my husband has the right to look for me and nobody else,” she adds, rejecting accusations that she and her husband have caused sectarian strife.

Bishops of the papal office declined to comment on the authenticity of the video clip. “I heard of that clip, but I didn’t see it for me to be able to say if the woman is really Camellia Shehata,” said Deir Mawas Church Bishop Wissa Sobhi.

Other Christian sources said the lady who appears in the video clip is younger than Shehata and looks different.

For his part, Nizar Ghorab, one of the lawyers who requested that the attorney general find Shehata, said only the forensic department can confirm the authenticity of the clip.

Meanwhile, supporters of Shehata said they will not cancel a demonstration they planned for after the Eid prayers in front of the Mustafa Mahmoud mosque, in which they plan to demand the appearance of Shehata.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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