A Middle Eastern journalist has revealed that “one of the most explosive issues in the relations between Christians and Muslims of Egypt is the abduction of Christian Coptic minor girls, to force them to embrace Islam, after humiliating and demeaning them psychologically and morally.”
Mary Abdelmassih, in a story for the Assyrian International News Agency said, “This dangerous phenomenon which appeared in the 1970s and which has become a lucrative business for all Muslim participants including the Egyptian State Security has been steadily on the rise, with reports surfacing weekly of several disappearances without trace of Coptic girls.”
She said that those fortunate enough to return home have talked of their ordeal.
Abdelmassih went on to say that Zeenahom (Suzan) Nady Adly, 19-years old, “is one of the fortunate girls who was able to return home, after being drugged and abducted by Muslims to force her conversion to Islam.
“She comes from Ezbet Fanous, a small hamlet, near the town of Samalut (150 miles from Cairo), inhabited by a Coptic majority of twenty families to six Muslim ones and a Muslim mayor.”
The journalist said that according to the girl’s story, as she went out at night on Saturday, June 12, 2010, to buy soft drinks for some visitors at home, she was stopped by two Muslim men, who sprayed a substance in her face, making her lose consciousness.
“When I regained consciousness nearly two hours later, I found myself in the building of the Islamic Sharia Association in Minia, facing a shaikh [Islamic scholar] who tried to intimidate and force me to convert to Islam,” reported Freecopts advocacy in a taped interview with Zeenahom. “He tried to convince me that I would be safer marrying a Muslim, and leaving the area.”
However, the shaikh contacted State Security to tell them that he wanted her to convert, but he was told to let her go as her family was not keeping quiet.
Meanwhile, said Abdelmassih, her father, Nady Adly, had sent telegrams to all authorities and her family demonstrated in front of Samalut police headquarters asking for her return, which forced the security authorities to intervene.
“However, her ordeal continued at the police station where she was taken the next day. Zeenahom accused the village mayor Khalaf Ebdelmageed of masterminding her abduction at the hands of Muslim Sayed Khalaf and another named Taha El-Hinnawi, in exchange for money,” said the story.
Zeenahom was reported as saying, “While I was at the police station, the village mayor told me that I was too good to be a Christian. He asked me to say in the police report that I will convert to Islam, but I refused.”
The girl said that she refused to tell the police the names of her abductors, especially Sayed Khalaf, for fear of retribution. She is staying presently with her aunt.
Magdy Attia, one of the Coptic witnesses who demonstrated in front of the police station until Zeenahom was handed over to her father said that nearly two hundred Muslims, together with Sayed Khalaf’s family were there with weapons intimidating them.
“We were told that they will take Zeenahom by force to convert and marry her main abductor Sayed Khalaf, a driver by occupation, who has divorced his Muslim wife recently,” he said. “We were told Zeenahom will be Sayed’s second wife.”
Abdelmassih went on to say that the victim’s father said that the village mayor has beaten him when he said that he wanted to talk to his abducted daughter on the phone. He filed a police accusing the mayor of being an accomplice. Later he was threatened by the mayor demanding that his daughter retracts any accusations she made to Copts United advocacy of his involvement in her abduction and forced Islamization attempt.
Talking of his siege he said: “I could not leave my home, as all roads were blocked. I had to phone the police to come and let me out of the area.”
A few days later, Abdelmassih continued, the police and one of the members of the local council in Samalout, Magdi Malek, forced on them, the so-called “reconciliation meeting” in which it was decided that the whole Coptic family should be deported from the village, reported Copts United.
Commenting on this case, Coptic attorney Mamdouh Nakhla, Director of the Al-Kalema human rights centre said: “Forcing the girl and her family out of the village and leaving their home, for whatever reason, is a crime of forced displacement, which is a crime against humanity, punishable by the International Criminal Court.”
Nakhla says that he viewed the reconciliation meeting which was held in Ezbet Fanous as a “meeting for submission, and imposing the will of the strong upon the weak.” He intends to head a fact-finding commission to the area next week to document what happened to the girl’s family and interview witnesses.
Although her father has filed a report naming the abductors of his daughter, no action was taken against them.
“I am pleading for protection from the family of Sayed Khalaf. I am afraid to leave my home. I need to go to work to earn money to feed my family. Sayed told me he will be after us until we all convert to Islam,” the father told Freecopts.
“Sayed’s family is strong, they are numerous and have weapons... but I am only a poor man.”