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A new report claims that hundreds of Egyptian Christian women and girls have been kidnapped in Egypt. Many of these girls are then forced to convert to Islam and marry. One such example is Amira, a young Coptic Christian who disappeared from her church during a Sunday Service. There are over 500 girls and women reported missing in the past three years, revealing an upward trend of violence targeted at Christians in Egypt.

06/24/14 Egypt (Fox News) – Fifteen-year-old Amira Hafez Wahim slipped out of the Christian church in Luxor, Egypt, where she had attended services with her mother in February, promising to dash to a nearby store and return quickly.

Five months later, she has not been seen since, although her parents immediately suspected a 28-year-old Muslim man named Yasser Mahmoud, who had tried to kidnap her before, had succeeded this time.  When her father went to the Civil Status Authority for a copy of her birth certificate, his fears were confirmed: Her name had been changed and she was now listed as Muslim.

Amira is one of approximately 550 Coptic Christian girls and women who have disappeared in Egypt over the last three years, according to a report from the Egyptian Association of Victims of Abduction and Enforced Disappearances.

Ebnar Louis, the Cairo activist who founded the association in 2010, said police are typically indifferent to reports of missing girls.

“We file an official police report, but it is often ignored,” Louis told the humanitarian think tank Atlantic Council.

The reasons behind this alleged police indifference are unclear. It could be individual sectarian bias, inadequate resources and funding, or plain incompetence.

The report concluded that many of the missing females were abducted by Salafi Muslims and forced to convert to Islam and marry their captors once estranged from their families. It found the abductions increased after secular strongman Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011 and replaced by Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Mohammed Morsi. Although Morsi was in turn ousted by the military nearly a year ago, the abductions have continued.

Of the 550 missing females AVAED has investigated, only 10 have returned home and offered testimony. But the 10 who made it back tell a familiar tale that Louis’ group believes reveals an organized effort by Salafi extremists to kidnap, marry and convert Coptic women and girls.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which has called on the Obama administration to speak out for religious freedom in the Middle East and Africa, believes there is an ominous goal behind the abductions.

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