Egyptian Court Gives Final Ruling on ‘Baby Shenouda’ Case


Egyptian Court Gives Final Ruling on ‘Baby Shenouda’ Case

Photo credit: Coptic Solidarity

Egypt’s administrative court made a final ruling denying custody to the Shenouda adoptive family of the child, on Saturday, March 18, deciding that he would remain in state custody due to the court’s lack of jurisdiction.

Over the past year, the ‘Baby Shenouda’ case has caused much controversy in Egypt. A Coptic Christian couple found Shenouda inside a Cairo church when he was just a few days old and took him in, raising him as their own. Egyptian authorities took custody of Shenouda when DNA tests, carried out as a result of a family dispute over inheritance, showed he was not biologically related to the couple.

Then Shenouda was sent into an orphanage, renamed Youssef and assigned to the Islamic faith.

The Islamic faith is assigned by default to children who have no known lineage within the country, according to the Department of Civil Status in the Ministry of the Interior.

Furthermore, under Shari’a law, adoption is not permitted. It’s about nurturing a child, though. In 2021, Egypt’s Ministry of Social Solidarity implemented a decree giving foster parents the right to add their names to a foster child’s birth certificate.

Netizens raised their concerns online, some siding with Shenouda’s family, while others sided with the state arguing that a child should not be brought in without going through the proper official channels as in most countries.

Shenouda’s adoptive family intends to make another appeal to the court.

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