Monday, June 23, 2014

  • Monday, June 23, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
This is horrific:

Since 2011 to date at least 550 Christian girls have been kidnapped by Muslim men in Egypt, forced to convert and marry their abductors, often after suffering violence at the hands of their captors, the Association of Victims of Abduction and Forced Disappearance (AVAFD) reported earlier this month.

Echoing AVAFD report, the Pontifical foundation Aid to the Chuch in Need emphasized that the kidnapping of young Coptic Christian girls is no new phenomenon. During the presidency of Anwar el-Sadat (1970-1981) several cases were reported to authorities. Nevertheless, after the fall of toppled dictator President Hosni Mubarak at the beginning of 2011, there has been a rash of kidnappings reported.

“Before the revolution five or six girls would disappear each month. Now the average is 15,” Ebram Louis, founder of AVAFD (AVAED in Egyptian), said.

According to AVAFD, in 40 percent of the cases in which the girls and women abducted are between 14 and 40 years old, they are raped and subsequently forced to marry their captors after being converted to Islam. The organization says that other victims are instead coerced by young Muslims, who first gain their trust, then force them to convert and marry. During wedding preparations, the traditional cross that the Coptic minority tattooes on their wrists, a symbol of the Christian faith carried with pride by many members of the minority, is erased with acid.

The high number of missing girls and the repeating identical operating patterns have convinced lawyers, activists and priests — long engaged in the battle against the terrible practice — that there is an organized network behind the kidnappings. According to some, there are Islamic cells dedicated exclusively to the abduction of Coptic women.

Aid to the Church in Need cites the example of a young girl, Nadia Makram, who was kidnapped in 2011 at age 14. Nadia's parents knew the name of her kidnapper — Ahmed Hammad, a 48-year old Muslim — and turned to the police immediately. The man was not arrested. According to numerous documented episodes by the organization, the police often refuse to search for missing girls, claiming that they voluntarily abandoned their parents’ home. Often, if the young girls are found, they are almost always accompanied to the police station by their new Muslim "relatives", even during questioning to determine if the girl was forcibly abducted. In these circumstances, many of the girls and women say that they voluntarily left the family home.

The story of Nadia, and other girls kidnapped and forced into the marriage, gets even more serious for some. Egyptian law forbids the marriage and conversion of minors, even if they claim to be consenting. Yet in 2012, when Nadia was just fifteen and had already given birth to her first child, authorities closed the case acquitting the husband. For the man, it was sufficient to show a marriage certificate attesting to the ‘legal’ union with his underaged wife.
This means that far more girls have been kidnapped in Egypt in the past few years than the number of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria.

This study was cited in the Huffington Post a few days ago, along with other alarming statistics of the number of Copts murdered and churches attacked since the revolution.

(h/t Irene)

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