Friday, September 08, 2006

This cannot be tolerated

Davidnic at Italian American Catholic relates a recent account of the kidnapping of a young Catholic woman in Egypt. The full story, to which he has linked, is here.

David and Neferteeti, an Egyptian Coptic Orthodox blogger living in Australia, post regularly on such cases, which are not only not that unusual, but are generally accompanied by local officials and the Egyptian government looking the other way if not outright obstructing justice. Religious minorities in Islamic countries often have little recourse in cases against Muslims, and the motive in these cases is forcible conversion--either because the perpetrators believe this will score them points with Allah or because they seek to humiliate the families of these girls.

It is easy for the perpetrators to hide behind the pretense that the girls eloped and converted willingly (although some 'converts' are not of majority age and cannot legally make that decision.) The girls themselves are sometimes shown publicly acknowledging their conversion, although in many of these cases there is evidence that drugs, coercion, or brutality is behind these "acknowledgements."

The government of Egypt will continue to ignore these and other outrages against religious minorities unless the world community pressures them to do something about them. Suggestions on the original post that David cited as well:

Contact your bishops about this case in particular (the young lady is, after all, of our flock) and similar cases. The Orthodox Copts, our brothers and sisters in Christ, suffer greatly as do other minorities.
Educate others about the persecution of religious minorities in Egypt.

Additional sites about this issue:
Middle East Forum
Although Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International seem disappointingly uninterested in religious freedom issues like this one, a little digging on their sites turns up acknowledgement of the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Egypt.

Please learn about this issue, and do what you can.



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