Rescuing and serving persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

DUIN: Coptic girls being abducted

By Julia Duin

1/7/2010 Egypt (The Washington Times) – Ten years ago, I was in Egypt interviewing Coptic Christians who described how persecution by Muslims had become a way of life for them. The situation is worse now because of increased abductions of Coptic girls, who are forced into a sham marriage with a Muslim, raped, forced to convert to Islam and separated for good from their families.

These are girls as young as 12 who are being grabbed off Egyptian streets. Photos are taken while the girl is being raped to blackmail her into converting, says Mary Abdelmassih, a Coptic activist.

“She’s told the pictures will go to her family,” she told me. “They’d rather die than have that happen.”

Because local police are more often than not in collusion with the kidnappers, the families have to come up with enormous sums to get their daughters back. If the family is poor, their daughter is gone forever. The Assyrian National News Agency says very few of the girls who have been kidnapped since the 1970s ever get returned to their families and none of the kidnappers have been brought to justice.

For instance, after Myrna Gamal Hanna, a 20-year-old Christian woman, called her family Sept. 30 to ask them to rescue her from a forced marriage to a Muslim, her father and five other men showed up at her Alexandria apartment and rescued her. Instead of punishing the husband, police tortured Myrna’s family until they revealed where they had hidden the daughter. Then the family had to cough up several thousand dollars for those who had kidnapped the girl.

I called the Egyptian Embassy Tuesday for a response but got none. Judging from past responses, the government will say these girls ran away with Muslim men then claimed they were kidnapped to escape the ire of their families.

But Al Ahram, an Egyptian weekly, said in September that relations between Christians and Muslims in Egypt are at a “boiling point” over this. The latest trend, Ms. Abdelmassih says, is that women are being mined for organs, as happened to an American University student who was kidnapped two years ago.

“The kidnappers said to get back his daughter, he had to pay 600,000 Egyptian pounds,” she said. “When he protested, he was told both of her kidneys are worth more than that.”

[Full Story]