السبت، يناير ٢١، ٢٠٠٦

I only want Christ…no one else will do

I only want Christ…no one else will do
This is the story of Niven Maher Albert, of Camp Shizar Alexandria.

Niven was 19 years old when she disappeared on the 14th of February 2005. To all those who claim these girls went willingly to Islam…pay attention to this story….

Niven wanted to be a nun.

Niven had a sister Susan to whom she was very close. Niven was enrolled in a travel and tourism course, but she didn’t attend classes. She got lecture notes from friends and only attended exams. Her time was spent at church, home and a small store where she had a part time job. That store was right next to her sister Susan’s place of work. Niven didn’t go anywhere else on her own. She had spent several days traveling to several monasteries, convents and spiritual retreat spots. She came back home on the evening of the 13th February. Her sister Susan noticed she was quieter than usual so she asked her what was wrong.

Niven said “I’m not sure if I’ll be around here much longer”
Susan: What do you mean? Where are you going?
Niven: I want to become a nun. I spoke to Mother Simone and asked her to accept me into the convent.

Susan says she was upset to hear this from her sisters. They were close and Niven was her only sister. She knew if Niven became a nun she would never marry, have children and Susan would in a sense lose her sister’s companionship. Susan asked their brother Sabri to speak to Niven. When Sabri spoke to his sister about it that night she said to him and to Susan “It’s OK, I only Christ…I don’t want anyone else, no one else will do”

Her brother and sister implored her to take some time to think it over and talk to her confession father, father Thomas of Al Wardeyan. So the next day, 14th February she left home to go see him. Witnesses say they saw her arrive at the church and ask for Father Thomas. When she didn’t find him, she called him on his mobile. Father Thomas says that when she called him he was in “St Demiana’s Bait Al Karma” which is in El Baheira, outside Alexandria. She was insistent to meet him and told him she’d come to see him there. The last thing she said to him that day was that she’ll ask her parents permission and she’ll go see him that afternoon. She did call home and ask her mother’s permission to travel to see father Thomas and her mother said it was OK.

She never got there.

When she didn’t come back that evening her family was extremely worried and started to look for her everywhere. The next day, 15th February, Susan went to report her missing at the police and Sabri to lodge a report at Moderyat Al Amn (National Security) and there was a detective called Essam Shawqi. Det Shawqi reassured Sabri and told him “I will find her for you, don’t worry. Living or dead, I will find her” and the distraught family waited fearing the worst.

8 days later, Father Thomas called Bishop Armeya who told him he will help search for the missing girl. Bishop Armeya took her details and started making some calls. He found out, by sheer coincidence that there was a session booked for Niven on the 28th February to confess her conversion to Islam at Moderyat Al Amn (another conversion surrounded by security police)

This came as a shock to Father Thomas and the family who knew of their daughter’s intent to become a nun. It was also a shock that all along the authorities claimed they didn’t know anything about Niven when in fact the session was to be held in their offices. Also, the authorities are required by law to inform the girl’s family (because she is a minor according to Egyptian law) and her parish priest.

In any case, father Thomas of St Demiana’s church in Al Wardeyan, and Father Mikhail of Al Mansheya church (father Mikhail was a police officer prior to being ordained, and as such has knowledge of the due process meant to take place). They both went to attend this session on 28/02/05. Her family couldn’t see her because the authorities wouldn’t issue them with permits.

When Niven entered the room she barely greeted father Mikhail then sat as far away from him as possible. She said “they’ve warned me not talk to you specifically” (most probably because they knew he was a police officer). She also said “I’ve talked to very important people and they said not talk to you”. Father Mikhail told her that her family was outside and wanted to see her. Upon hearing this she yelled “No NO!! not my family…please not my family”. He mentioned her sister missed her, and he said, you want to see Susan?? I’ll call her for you. She was frightened and gritted her teeth saying “don’t say Susan. Don’t do this to Suzie”

Father Mikhail asked Niven if she had an Identity card. She said she never had one. Knowing the law, he said to the officer present “this session must be cancelled. She doesn’t have an ID card” At that, the officer said he had Niven’s ID card. He produced an ID card in the old paper format (ID cards are all plastic cards now in Egypt, the paper version is no longer produced for new applications) The ID card he produced to father Mikkhail was issued on the 15th of February 2005!!! ONE DAY AFTER HER DISAPPEARANCE (a major feat of accomplishment in a country where burucracy reigns supreme. It usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to obtain an ID card) This ID card was issued to a minor, without her guardian’s signature (required by the law) or a birth certificate!!!!!!!!!!! Moreover, the address on the card is at 2 Abu El Feda street, Al Attareen. When this address was investigated later, it was found to be the address of a group of warehouses!

Niven was visibly shaken and kept repeating 2 phrases as if she had memorized them “I am convinced. Don’t worry” When asked by her priest “Can you tell me what attracted you to Islam?” she answered “Oh no, I don’t want to talk about religion. Lets not talk about religion” Father Thomas said “what about Jesus? You always told me you loved Christ so much that you wanted to be a nun” At that she lowered her head and stared at the floor and said nothing. The priests told her not to be scared, no matter what. They said to her no matter what happened to her, if she was raped, if she was pregnant…don’t be afraid and tell us what’s going on. She said nothing.

The priests said she visibly distressed and asked to see her again for another session. They were told to come back 10/03/05. The family also tried to obtain permits to go see their daughter. Susan went on the morning of the 10th March and was lead into a room by a low ranking officer who upon learning what she was here for said “Niven is not coming today” Susan said she’d wait for her sister. An officer called Khalid Al Agamy started to yell at Susan and said to her “Even if you bring your whole family, your whole street, then the street next to yours…and there’s only half a meter between you and sister, I won’t let you touch her…we’re not scared of the likes of you” Then he just sat at his desk swearing under his breath, and after a while, without making or receiving any calls or speaking to anyone just said “She’s not coming. She must’ve changed her mind”

Sabri and his father went back to see the detective he saw at the start, Essam Shawqi who was sympathetic. Sabri asked him “how do you expect me to believe that after she often expressed her desire to be a nun, even the night before her disappearance, then she wakes up and thinks suddenly that she wants to be Muslim!!!???” Shawqi didn’t answer him. Sabri asked him again;” why was the session of 10/03 cancelled??”
Shawqi said “its one of two things: She either changed her mind about becoming Muslim, or “they” decided to spend more time working with her”

No one heard anything about Niven since then.

Now for these questions:

1. Why would a girl on her way to becoming a nun suddenly find Islam in one morning?

2. Why did the authorities tell her family they didn’t know where she was, when they in fact issued her an ID care?

3. How can they issue an ID card to a minor without any birth certificate or the signature of her guardian?

4. Why was the ID card in the old paper format? Whats the rush? And whats that address??

5. Why was she so frightened if her sister became involved? Did she fear her sister could meet the same fate?

6. Why warn her not to speak to the priest who was a police officer?

7. Who are “they” that have access to her and are “working with her” when her own family is denied even the knowledge of her whereabouts?