A man who claimed to be an Evangelical pastor has been arrested on charges of forgery, which has reopened the file of Christian men of religion issuing forged marriage documents to Coptic divorcees.
Due to the Egyptian churches’ strictness in dealing with the issue of divorce among Copts, divorce cases have become hubs for dirty dealings and forgery, and divorcees are becoming victims of crooks and impostors.
Husnī Mīlād reported in al-Ahrām of October 4, 2007 on an official statement by the Coptic Evangelical Denomination in Egypt which affirmed the denomination’s disavowal of the claims of the so-called Rev. John Ḥannā Ṣalīb who identified himself as the pastor of the Evangelical Church in Old Cairo and at the same time is accused of issuing forged marriage certificates for Coptic divorcees.
Mīlād quoted Ṣafwat al-Bayyāḍī, the head of the Evangelical Church in Egypt, as asserting that the Evangelical Church in Old Cairo is led by Rev. Ṣalāḥ Silīm, and accused Salīb of impersonation.
Nevertheless, the daily newspaper al-Miṣrī al-Yawm published an article on October 3, 2007, in which Ṣābir Mashhūr and Majdī Sam‘ān described a complaint filed by Ṣalīb before the General Prosecutor against the Brigadier general named Fāiyz Abādhah, claiming that the officer has arrested him, along with a female servant from his church, and taken them to the police headquarters where they were disgraced and humiliated.
In response to the accusation, Brigadier General Abādhah denied what the pastor said, affirming that Ṣalīb has been convicted in a number of forgery cases. Ṣalīb’s arrest came after a Christian woman accused him of forging official stamps and issuing fake marriage documents to her son, said Abādhah in a special statement to al-Miṣrī al-Yawm.
In the weekly edition of Rose al-Yūsuf of October 6 -12, 2007, Ahmad Pasha devoted a two-page report to proving that the magazine had reported on the ’fake’ pastor two years ago after it received many complaints from Christian divorcees who fell between the impostors’ claws.
Pasha claimed that there was a network of pastors and men of religion who became professionals at writing forged marriage documents for Coptic divorcees and Salīb was one of them.