ICC Note: The targeted kidnapping of Coptic women and girls has always been a strategy used by Islamists to force conversion, but there has been a recent significant spike in alleged kidnapping cases. Extremists Muslims in Egypt use this tactic as a way to intimidate the Christian community. Egyptian Christians are often objectified and viewed as second-class citizens, resulting in a number of difficult situations that make day-to-day life challenging.
06/14/2018 Egypt (Mission Network News) – There has been a spike in kidnappings and disappearances of Christian women and girls in rural areas of Egypt and some cities.
“What seems to be happening is that a trafficking strategy that targets Coptic Christian young ladies and forces them to convert to Islam then sell them into either into domestic care in other international locations or into the sex trade,” Open Doors’ David Curry says.
Curry shares these kidnappings are being used as a tactic to demoralize the women and to humiliate the Christian community.
According to World Watch Monitor, there were seven kidnappings of Coptic Christian women in the month of April and an eighth one on May 2. The families of these women suspect they have been kidnapped by Muslims.
One of the girls who was kidnapped, Mirna Malak Shenouda, a 16-year-old Coptic Christian girl, escaped her kidnappers.
World Watch Monitor reported she was kidnapped by two women and a man in Aswan. She had been knocked out but awoke on a train. At one of the stops, she jumped off and called her parents.
However, Shenouda’s escape and rescue are rare.
Many families of the missing girls have turned to police after disappearances, but have received minimal to no help due to religious prejudices.
“One of the challenges then has been a very uneven… sense of justice when these cases are reported to the local police.”
Curry shares in one case, after the family reported to the police, they returned to the station for updates and the police stated the woman had come into the station, said she was not missing and had willingly converted to Islam.
The family says they do not believe she would ever willingly convert to a different religion as she loves God.
However, the local police will not investigate this case or similar cases any further.
For interviews with Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].