The more things change in the new, post-revolutionary Egypt, the more they stay the same. As Coptic Pope Shenouda III warned in 1976: “There is a practice to convert Coptic girls to embrace Islam and marry them under terror to Muslim husbands.”
Here is another case in the recent surge in disappearances of Christian girls. “Tensions Rise in Egypt Over Two Missing Christian Girls,” by Mary Abdelmassih for the Assyrian International News Agency, June 26:
(AINA) — Tension is escalating over the case of 14-year-old Nancy Magdy Fathy, and her 16-year old cousin Christine Ezzat Fathy, who have disappeared and allegedly converted to Islam. Many parties are being pulled into the row over their future, including Al Azhar, the Church, activists and lately Islamist organizations, which are threatening violence against church.
The story of the missing girls became public after they disappeared while on their way to church on Sunday June 12. A the two day sit-in staged by Copts in front of the Minya Security Headquarters, demanding Nancy and Christine’s return, focused attention on their story. Rumors in the media emerged as to their whereabouts, the identity of the perpetrators and whether the girls were actually traded to another Muslims gang.
Nearly two weeks after they disappeared, Nancy and Christine were found in Cairo wearing Burkas. They were incidentally stopped in the street by a police officer when he noticed that one of them had a cross tattooed on her wrist, as many Copts have. The girls told the policeman they converted to Islam and did not marry any Muslims sheikh as the newspapers said, but fearing the wrath of their parents, they sought shelter at the home of a Muslim man. He issued a report of the incident and let them go.
Forced converts have been told before that their parents or families hate them, have rejected them, or will hurt or kill them if they come back — the same thing happened to Saba and Aneela Masih of Pakistan. It is a revealing projection of Islam’s death penalty for apostasy.
Nancy and Christine subsequently surrendered at a Cairo police station.
An investigation into their disappearance was launched, as their parents accused two Muslim brothers from a neighboring village of abducting them. They were also asked about the video clip which appeared on the Internet, taken in Tahrir Square, where Nancy and Christine allegedly converted to Islam.
According to the investigators, the Christian minors said they converted to Islam of their own free will, and refused to return to their families, and even applied for protection from them. The prosecution decided to put them in a state care home and provide protection for them, until the completion of the investigation. Authorities also wanted an Al-Azhar scholar to determine if they really believe in Islam.
This has angered their families, who said their girls are minors and should not be subjected to such procedures. Both families and the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights Organization protested on Saturday, June 25 in front of the office of the prosecutor general, and demanded for their children to be returned to them.
Al Azhar and the Fatwa (religious edict) Committee denied that the two Coptic teenagers had converted to Islam, because they are still minors and have not yet reached 18 years of age, as is required by law. [...]
Nonetheless, the jihadists have their next pretext for violence:
The Egyptian daily newspaper ElYoum7 published a statement from the Islamist “Alliance for the support of New Muslim Women,” in which the group threatened to carry out “extended protests” in all governorates in Egypt if Nancy and Christine are returned to the church. The Alliance emphasized in its statement the protests this time will escalate violently: “We will not retreat this time, until each captive is free and out of the monasteries in which they are held as prisoners.” The statement also said “We say it openly, that we will not go back again to the era when newly converted Muslim women were delivered to the church, which wants to tempt them away from their religion, or forcibly detain them in reprisal for choosing freely their faith.”
In the past the Alliance had staged over 20 demonstrations every Friday in support of Kamilia Shehata, the priest’s wife whom they claim converted to Islam but was held captive by the church, despite of Al Azhar confirming that she never set foot there and her appearance twice in public to refute all their claims of her conversion…