Young Christian girls forced to choose, Islam or serious abuse in Egypt. PCP Report.
01 Apr 2004
Christians in Egypt are facing increasing persecution: Vulnerable girls are being targeted in a bid to force them to adopt Islam and Christian students have been arrested for having Bibles.
In the latest ruse a number of supermarkets have been running bogus competitions, where Christian girls always seem to be the winners. The girl is asked to go upstairs to receive her prize, and once upstairs she is ushered into a private room and asked to sign the 'receipt for the reward'.
The paperwork actually turns out to be a statement of conversion to Islam. Those who are old enough and literate enough to realise what the statement is and who refuse to sign are accused of theft and strip searched. The US Copts organisation reports that some of these girls are raped. Furthermore the girls who have gone through this experience remain in the custody of their abductors.
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church made a rare departure, in his weekly address on 16 March, from his normally conciliatory tone and highlighted these incidents. The Pope said that he had received many letters about the girls. 'I envisage this will cause serious sectarian strife in our country. I call upon the police to take DECISIVE action,' he said with great emphasis. 'We do not want to carry on suffering! Enough is enough!' He went on to mention the arrest of four Christian students in their late teens apparently for possession of Christian literature and tapes. Police entered the hotel in South Sinai where they were staying at 9.00am on 26 January, arrested the four and seized all the Christian material. Their detention was extended once on 9 February and then again on 28 March.