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Egypt: Prosecutor orders that Christian couple’s adopted son be placed in orphanage

The child was taken from this couple “because, according to the law, any unidentified child is considered Muslim, and cannot be put in the care of a Christian family.”

Our brothers and sisters of the Coptic Orthodox Christian Church in Egypt are persecuted in numerous ways on a more or less regular basis, all for their faith.

Not only the Copts, but also our 300,000 Greek Orthodox brothers and sisters in Egypt suffer sporadic persecution, discrimination, and harassment, and as we see so often, frequently Egyptian officials do little or nothing to alleviate their plight.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Egypt, see here.

“Story of four-year-old Shenouda raises disturbing questions on adoption and foster care in Egypt,” by Nader Shukry, Wataninet, September 4, 2022:

The story started four years ago in a church in Egypt—location and identity of the church, and some names in this story, are not being reported as a cautionary measure—where a baby was found, apparently abandoned by his biological mother.

The priest, not knowing what to do, decided to hand the infant to a couple who had been childless for 29 years, and who desperately desired a child. The couple were elated to have the little boy to care for and bring up as their own; they applied for a birth certificate for him and gave him their name: Shenouda Farouq Fawzy Boulos. They had Shenouda baptised, and raised him as a Christian grounded in church for four years during which they were an indescribably happy, loving family.

Mr Boulos’s niece, however, was not at all happy with the situation. Realising that Shenouda’s legal name as the son of Mr Boulos made him her uncle’s legal inheritor and excluded her from the inheritance, she made a claim to the police that the boy was not Mr Boulos’s son but had been trafficked. Egyptian law outlaws adoption, in accordance with Islamic sharia, but allows Takaful—literally “care”, in this case foster care—but children cannot be given their foster parents’ names nor can they legally inherit their money or belongings; they can only receive “gifts” from their foster parents.

The prosecution opened an investigation with the Bouloses, in which tests proved Shenouda was no child of theirs. Yet the prosecutor recognised that the matter was absolutely well intentioned, so did not prosecute Mr Boulos. But Mr Boulos had signed a statement that he had found the infant Shenouda on the street [in a probably well-meaning but ill-advised attempt to not implicate the church], so the prosecutor ordered the child to be taken from his care and handed to an orphanage. Why? Because, according to the law, any unidentified child is considered Muslim, and cannot be put in the care of a Christian family. His name was officially changed from the Coptic “Shenouda” to the more neutral “Youssef” (Joseph). This was in February 2022….

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