06/12/2016 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – A recent wave of kidnappings in Upper Egypt has paralyzed the local Christian community. International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned of at least seven cases now in which teenage girls have disappeared, likely to be forcefully married and converted to Islam.
In the fourth of six confirmed cases, Amal Shaky, age 19, was kidnapped presumably on her way to class at Cairo University.
On March 27, 2016, Amal left her house at 7:00 a.m. to attend an 8:00 a.m. lecture. She was expected to be home by 2:30 p.m. At 4:00 p.m., her father began to worry when he realized that her cell phone was shut off and he couldn’t reach her. At 5:30 p.m., her brother and cousin set out to look for her.
Her relatives searched the university, hoping she had attended an on-campus party for the evening. When students were leaving the party by 9:00 p.m., they assured her family that she had not attended the event. The rest of the evening was spent searching the campus and local hospitals in hope of some answers.
The very next day, March 28, Amal’s father, Zakaria, went to the Mohandessin police station to file a report.
He said, “When I asked the officer to file a complaint of [the] kidnapping of my daughter, he said to me, ‘Maybe you killed your daughter and threw away her body.'”
After harassing Zakaria, the officer refused to file a report and asked for a few hours to investigate the matter.
When Zakaria returned two hours later, the officer at the Mohandessin police station presented a false story as to where Amal had been during the time of her disappearance. Zakaria immediately refuted his words with a phone call to a relative, convincing the policeman to file a report.
“He agreed to file a report but refused to write that Amal was kidnapped and wrote instead that she is missing,” Zakaria told ICC.
This is not the first time that Amal was kidnapped. On April 4, 2011, she was taken by four men. Although a formal complaint was filed, the police did nothing to help return Amal to her family. Zakaria and other relatives were able to secure Amal’s release on April 20 and have one of the four kidnappers convicted.
The arrested assailant was sentenced to seven years in prison, though he has not been arrested and the verdict was never executed.
On April 11, 2016, Zakaria went to the Agouza court to follow up on the police report he had filed a week prior. When meeting with the prosecutor, he told the story of Amal’s previous abduction and that none of those responsible were ever imprisoned. It was while investigating the most recent kidnapping that Zakaria realized the convicted abductor from 2011 was never imprisoned.
Each and every time Zakaria or other family members have returned to the police station, they have been turned away. The police claim to be investigating the matter.
“More than 40 days have passed since my daughter was kidnapped, and they say that the matter is under investigation,” Amal’s father told ICC. “I don’t know how long I should wait. Wait until they tell me that my daughter is killed or got married?”
Wave of Kidnappings Rock Upper Egypt’s Christian Community – Part 5
|06/30/2016 Washington, D.C.
(International Christian Concern
) – In the recent wave of kidnappings that are plaguing Upper Egypt, Christian women and girls are being taken off the streets and reportedly forced to convert to Islam. In the cases that International Christian Concern (ICC) has tracked, most of these girls are never heard from again.
Sandy Shehata is the fifth case in this series ICC has produced. Unlike the previous abductions, Sandy escaped her captors and lived to see her family again.
On April 18, Sandy, age 16, left to go shopping with her aunt for new Easter clothes. She left the house at 4:30 p.m., but never reached her destination.
“I went to the mobile shop before going to my aunt,” Sandy later recounted. “While I was leaving…a beard[ed] man hit me on my head, and I then passed out.”
When Sandy never arrived at her aunt’s house, her family was forced to search the streets for her. The crude reality for Christians in Egypt looks much like this: relatives and friends alike searching in hospitals and alleyways hoping to recover their loved ones.
On Tuesday, April 19, Sandy’s grandfather reported the disappearance to the Helwan police station, report number 5696.
At the same time, in a remote mountain location, Sandy woke up to find herself surrounded by older Muslim men.
“They clothed me [in] a black cloak and tried with me many times to convert to Islam but I refused to do that,” Sandy told ICC. “They were attacking, torturing and beating me.”
The men relentlessly beat and raped Sandy for the entirety of her two weeks in captivity. After each beating, Sandy would pass out until they woke her up again to continue.
On May 3, Sandy awoke to being thrown from a truck in the middle of nowhere.
“I braced up myself and walked until someone found me,” she recalled.
An owner of a Central Phone Shop in Abbassia, Cairo was driving along the road when he saw Sandy. Seeing that she was in distress, the man offered his phone for her to call her family.
“When I heard Sandy’s voice the tears fell from my eyes,” her mother recalled. “I thanked God for answering our prayers.”
While Sandy survived her kidnapping, her assailants have not been pursued by local authorities, leaving other Christian women at risk of similar abductions.