A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Abeer" May Actually Exist

The "woman named Abeer" whose rumored kidnapping sparked the violence that left twelve dead last Saturday appears to actually exist. A woman claiming her name is Abeer Talaat has given an interview to Tahrir TV and a published interview to the Islamist al-Gama‘a al-Islamiyya. (Though if they mean this site I can't find it.) (Another longer account here, which gives her name as Abeer Fakhry. Apparently the confusion is over whether she has remarried, and she says she has not.) Unlike Kamilia Shehata, the similar cause celebre allegedly kidnapped by the Church, Abeer Fakhry claims she converted to Islam, left her home in Upper Egypt, is divorcing her husband, moved to Cairo and became involved with a man she plans to marry when her divorce is final, and then was abducted by the Church.

Now, I think it's pretty clear there are a lot of questions. She is free now, but she has not fled to the authorities but has instead gone on television? Earlier, officials had denied she even existed, and some Egyptians are still highly skeptical. Obviously if there really was a provocation by the Church it should be a matter for the police and not for vigilante justice, but it is somewhat different than if the violence was provoked by a completely unfounded rumor. I suspect there is going to be more to this story.

For those who know Arabic, here's the actual statement:

No comments: