PHILADELPHIA, PA-Raymond Ibrahim
Not only are the churches, monasteries, and institutions of Egypt’s Christians under attack by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters—nearly 100 now have been torched, destroyed, ransacked, etc.—but Christians themselves are under attack all throughout Egypt, with practically zero coverage in Western media.
Days ago, for example, Copts held a funeral for Wahid Jacob, a young Christian deacon who used to serve in St. John the Baptist Church, part of the Qusiya diocese in Asyut, Egypt. He was kidnapped on August 21 by “unknown persons” who demanded an exorbitant ransom from his impoverished family—1,200,000 Egyptian pounds (equivalent to $171,000 USD). Because his family could not raise the sum, he was executed—his body dumped in a field where it was later found. The priest who conducted his funeral service said that the youth’s body bore signs of severe torture.
In fact, kidnapping young Christians and holding them for ransom has become increasingly common in Egypt. Last April, 10-year-old Sameh George, another deacon, or altar boy, at St. Abdul Masih (“Servant of Christ”) Church in Minya, Egypt, was also abducted by “unknown persons” while on his way to church to participate in Holy Pascha prayers leading up to Orthodox Easter. His parents said that it was his custom to go to church and worship in the evening, but when he failed to return, and they began to panic, they received an anonymous phone call from the kidnappers, informing them that they had the Christian child in their possession, and would execute him unless they received 250,000 Egyptian pounds in ransom money.
If those in Egypt being kidnapped and sometimes killed for ransom money are not all deacons, they are almost always church-attending Christians. Last April, for example, another Coptic Christian boy, 12-year-old Abanoub Ashraf, was also kidnapped right in front of his church, St. Paul Church in Shubra al-Khayma district. His abductors, four men, put a knife to his throat, dragged him to their car, opened fire on the church, and then sped away. Later they called the boy’s family demanding a large amount of money to ransom child’s life.
The hate for these Christians—who are seen as no better than dogs—is such that sometimes after being paid their ransom, the Muslim abductors still slaughter them anyway. This was the fate of 6-year-old Cyril Joseph, who was kidnapped last May. In the words of the Arabic report, the boy’s “family is in tatters after paying 30,000 pounds to the abductor, who still killed the innocent child and threw his body into the toilet of his home, where the body, swollen and moldy, was exhumed.”
As for Christian girls, they are even more vulnerable than Christian boys and disappear with great frequency. As an International Christian Concern report puts it, “hundreds of Christian girls … have been abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forced into marriage in Egypt. These incidents are often accompanied by acts of violence, including rape, beatings, and other forms of physical and mental abuse.”
Thus, while it is good that the nonstop attacks on Egypt’s churches have received some media attention, let us not forget the many, often young, Christian lives quietly being destroyed in Egypt, by those who would have the Muslim Brotherhood return to power.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and associate fellow at the Middle East Forum.
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