The Coptic families of two female converts to Islam, Christine and Nancy, rallied before the office of the prosecutor general Saturday, calling for custody of both young women.
After conducting preliminary investigations with the girls, the general prosecution asked the security forces to provide them with a safe house until an Al-Azhar scholar can test whether the story of their conversion is true.
Their families, however, called on the authorities to hand them the girls or let a Christian charity organisation be responsible for them, saying Al-Azhar does not accredit conversion to Islam from anyone younger than 18.
The two girls, both 14 years old, ran away from their homes in Minya months ago. A policeman saw them walking in the street wearing the face veil and with crosses tattooed on their hands, and accordingly stopped them and investigated.
During recent weeks, the two girls, who are cousins, have uploaded videos on YouTube announcing their conversion to Islam and that they were not kidnapped by anyone. This came in response to the father of one of the girls reporting their disappearance.
This is not the first story of Muslim converts that has been a source of public debate and concern. Camilia Shehata, who disappeared from her house in July 2010, was alleged to have converted to Islam only to be held in church after conversion to prevent her from practicing her new religion.
Salafi groups organised several protests asking the Coptic Church to release Shehata. Meanwhile, Shehata’s lawyers assured that she has not converted to Islam and that she has returned to her home.