Egyptian Copts have long been suffering at the hands of Muslims. Prior to Obama’s paen to Islam last week, a group of Egyptian Copts wrote to him, pleading with him to acknowledge their plight. He didn’t of course.
Meanwhile, as this story from the Assyrian International News Agency shows:
Cairo (AINA) — In another incident of abduction and forced Islamization of Coptic minor girls, 16-year old Nermeen Mitry was abducted by a Muslim man to coerce her into converting to Islam. She was successfully recovered on the same day by her family, who did their own investigation and search to locate her.
Nermeen was abducted from El-Mahalla by Muslim Hossam Hamouda in conspiracy with his aunt Leila Attia; she was hidden away by a third person called Nasser Abu Deif from Assuit in Upper Egypt, at the home of one of his female relatives called Rasha Soliman in Zagazig.
The success of recovering the Coptic girl led to anger, revenge and assaults from the disappointed village Muslims against her family. Nearly 150 Muslims, armed with swords and clubs, physically assaulted five family members of the abducted Coptic teenager, as they drove back to their village after being forced into reconciliation with the abductor’s family by State Security, compromising their right to pursue the case any further. “With every blow on us, they chanted ‘There is only one Allah’ while the Police stood there watching the assault, until we could take no more and three of us were hospitalized,” said Nermeen’s uncle Sameh Mitry in an aired interview with Coptic News on 6/7/2009. “They dragged us out of the car saying “Get out you followers of the Dog’s religion!’ They were consumed with anger ever since we got our girl back.”
The police rounded up11 Copts including the assaulted family and 14 Muslims. “The police let the real attackers go free and were just arresting people randomly,” said Sameh. “We were released after 3 days except for two Copts whom the State Security held as pawns — just in case we made any trouble they would be detained for a long time,” said Sameh.
Nermeen Mitry, 16, from Toma village near El-Mahalla town, was on her way to sit for an exam on May 21, 2009, when she was lured by a Muslim female friend to go home with her where she offered her spiked tea. She regained conscious hours later to find herself facing a bearded Muslim man trying to convert her to Islam, in a far away town and another governorate in Egypt, which she later knew to be Zagazig. The traumatized girl recounted the events to Osama Eid, correspondent of the Free-Copts Organization.
“The man was very confident and told me that I would be the fourth Coptic girl to ‘know the true Allah’ and convert to Islam through him. He also said that a member of my family was converted 15 years ago by him. I told him I am engaged to be married when I come of age, and would never convert to Islam as this would be a catastrophe for me. He did his best to make me change my mind, and then left me alone for a while.”
When Nermeen did not return home, the Mitry family went to the police. Unable to get the police to register the case as an abduction, the family subsequently went to State Security and reported the incident, but were delayed there for hours with no progress.
“Meanwhile, one of the abductor’s family members contacted Nermeen’s cousin Romany and told him he knew her whereabouts, and offered to accompany him to bring her back,” Sameh told Coptic News. “I am sure the abductor’s family knew that we would have implicated them and they were afraid. We freed the girl ourselves; State Security did nothing to help.”
On their way back with Nermeen, they were contacted by the police and were told to bring the girl to State Security Directorate. Reflecting the diminished Coptic trust in all government institutions especially State Security, “we never went there, instead we took the girl straight to a Monastery to be safe there,” Sameh told Coptic News. “We know quite well what Security would have done as has happened in many cases before. If she went there, they would have changed everything, closed the case and she would have gone to the other side.”
“Ever since Nermeen returned the village Muslims joining the abductor’s family started a terror campaign against us and all Copts in the village in general. They harassed and taunted us by saying ‘we will get your girls one by one'” said Sameh. “They burnt down Nermeen’s father recycled cartons warehouse. They set it on fire at dawn and went to the mosque to pray after locking its door. We contacted the Police and implicated a few people. They were released by State Security within 4 days.”
Nermeen’s abduction case was picked up by several Coptic human rights Organization and brought to light. Sadly and shamefully, the news agencies in Egypt, including the foreign ones, quoted the State Security as their news source. Their story was again portrayed as a ‘love story’ between a Muslim man and a 19-year-old Coptic girl who eloped together for two weeks. Even the governor of Gharbiah, when interviewed on the independent TV channel Al Mehwar, denied the news of any abduction and said that the sectarian strife in Mehallah was strictly a fight between a Muslim and a Coptic family over ‘rubbish collection.’
The systematic Islamization of Coptic girls has been going on for more than 30 years, Coptic Pope Shenouda protested during a conference held in Alexandria on December 17th, 1976 that “there is pressure being practiced to convert Coptic girls to embrace Islam and marry them under terror to Muslim husbands” and demanded that the abducted girls be brought back to their families.
By Mary Abdelmassih