Magdy Khalil is an Egyptian writer and analyst residing in the USA. Here he calls attention to an international scandal:
“The bottom of hell is held in reserve for those who take a neutral stance when values are at risk” — Dante
Abducting a female is one of the most awful crimes in the civilized society, which is met by a stern punishment. Respect for women, children and minorities as the weak entities of society is a quality that distinguishes the civilized society from the primitive one, to the point that even harassing a female is in itself a crime that is strictly sentenced. And before starting any job in America whether small or big, one must sign a statement, agreeing to abstain from sexual harassment, punishment is so stern to those who violate these regulations and varies from dismissal from the job to criminal trials, and if the female is a minor, i.e. “less than 18 year old” harassment becomes a very big problem, as for abducting and raping her, it is the gravest crime against the Western societies.
What happened to Egypt? And how the most despicable form of crimes is being committed against the Coptic girls without any moral, conscience, or legal deterrence, nor social restrictions? What are the causes of such evil phenomenon? How would a society that is considered to be the cradle of human civilization and the dawn of consciousness agree to such heinous crimes?
Is it a phenomenon?
The first question to be raised: Has abducting Coptic girls and forcing them to convert to Islam constituted a phenomenon or isolated cases?
If a phenomenon is a pattern of behavior frequently repeated throughout a long period, then what is happening in Egypt against Coptic girls is definitely a phenomenon, it is a phenomenon that the Coptic Church protested against over quarter of a century ago, and specifically in Alexandria conference held under the auspices of H.H. Pope Shenouda on December 17th, 1976 who stated in the conference that “There is pressure being practiced to convert Coptic girls to embrace Islam and marry them under terror to Muslim husbands” and demanded to bring back the abducted girls to their families. So we are facing a phenomenon that is more than three decades old in its modern form, but of course it has been taking place throughout fifteen centuries since the Arab invasion of Egypt.
The second question: Is it a widespread phenomenon?
The answer to this question is a complex one, if we talked about the pressure and the enticement practiced to convert Coptic girls to Islam, then we are facing a widespread phenomenon. But if we are talking only about the abduction of Coptic girls and forcing them to convert to Islam then we are discussing a limited phenomenon.
The Third Question: Is it a pre-planned Phenomenon?
Certainly it is a pre-planned phenomenon, and — later on — we will discuss the extent of this scheme. But another question to be raised; that is whether the government is planning that phenomenon?
This is another complex question, as the government does not meet to plan how to abduct Coptic girls, but it is a conniver and a collaborate partner that contributed in creating this environment. As for the actual planning, it is carried out by individuals, groups, associations, as well as Egyptian and regional organizations. What the government plans for and implement is the lateralization of the Copts within the Egyptian society, which leads us to the key question: What are the main reasons behind the phenomenon of abducting and converting the Coptic girls to Islam?
1- Responsibility of the government:
It is well known that one of the main tasks of the state — according to its modern definition — is to uphold law and order, as the need for security and safety is the second need of humanity according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, therefore the main task according to the virtual social contract between a citizen and the state, is to keep the internal and external security, keeping internal security is carried through what is called “preventive security” and the strict penal codes “to those who violate the peace and security of the society.”
The government provides neither preventive security nor the strict legal security to the Copts; therefore it bears the prime responsibility for what is happening to the Copts in Egypt. It is a partner in the crime by its negligence in carrying out its tasks, and also a partner in the crime by its collaboration with the criminal killers and abductors, because its active security system knows a great deal about the crimes being committed against the Copts including the abduction of the Coptic girls and yet it conceals it. Ponder what Esaam Ul Deen Hassan, — one of the activists of the Egyptian Human Rights Organization — wrote: “The government is responsible for the protection of its citizens against the violation of their rights from other citizens, despite that, the organization observed that the government — generally — acts only when it feels that it is threatened or when the regime and its authority is threatened, and on the contrary it stood by idly watching the radical Islamic groups use violence and coercion, which leveled to hijacking the legislative authority in many villages and carried on holding trials and executing the verdicts.”
The government is responsible for its shortcomings and for the collaboration of its security system, and responsible through the involvement of elements of its own security system in the crimes against the Copts. And as it is widely known and circulated, some members of the police took part in the murder crimes committed against the Copts in El Kusheh, and in El Zawya El Hamra where more than a hundred Coptic victims were slain; El Nabawy Ishmael, the then Minister of the Interior announced that police did not intervene in the beginning for political reasons, and the Copts understood that the “political reasons” meant providing a chance for the extremists to revenge against the Copts to quench their thirst and to experience the ecstasy of victory. I was an eyewitness to two incidents involving Coptic girls, where the Egyptian police did not interfere — even though it knew everything — unless the matter was raised before the El Azhar Imam and the high authorities in the government through the intervention of Pope Shenouda, and in less than 24 hours the two girls were returned. What can we call this? And what about the poor and those who have no connections?
What is more dangerous is that within three decades, the government did not bring to justice one single suspect accused of kidnapping Coptic girls despite the numerousness and multiplicity of incidents and the gravity of the crime. Does not this represent a shameful act from the government that smears it with reproach?
Protecting and preserving the national unity is the responsibility of the president as stated by the constitution, and according to the oath taken by the president before the people; that is why Mr. Muhammad Hassanein Heikal demanded that the president himself should oversee the national unity issue and should not leave it to the security agencies as it is his constitutional responsibility. The overall conditions of the Copts are the responsibility of the “Coptic division” of the State Security Intelligence headed by a brigadier officer with a group of lesser rank officers, is it logical to leave the most important Egyptian file in the hands of a number of small officers? Turning this file completely to the president is the first step, if we seriously want to begin discussing this issue away from the abuse of the security agencies.
2- Deadly religious incitement:
Anyone who monitors the media and different aspects of culture and education in Egypt will find an endless number of edicts (Fatwas) provoking the public against the Copts. Those edicts range from considering them infidels who should be fought and subjected to all kinds of injustices they are persevering to the incitation of kidnapping their daughters. Those who issue such edicts commit a crime against Copts and against the country; afterwards, carrying out such edicts becomes a religious duty.
Extremists and those who incite them follow a weird god who justifies all their flagrant deeds and lustful desires; it’s a pet god that follows all their wicked whims.
Let us ponder some of those deadly, venomous edicts:
Â· Sheikh Abdel Haleem Mahmood, the former Imam of Al-Azhar wrote in his book “Believing in Allah” saying: “Christians are like a malignant and contagious disease. Muslims should be unjust to them, they should despise them , treat them roughly and boycott them to force them to convert to Islam”
“¢ Sheikh Muhamed Metwaly El-Shaarawy wrote in Al-Ahram newspaper on 9/2/1992 saying: “Having sex with female POW’s bestows honor on her since the master does to her what he does to his wife.”
Why was he then screaming and complaining along with his clique when the Serbs raped the Bosnian women? Or is it permissible for Muslims but forbidden for others?
These are horrifying crimes against humanity that should be condemned regardless of religion or race.
“¢ The Imam of the mosque of the Juristic Society in Assiut repeated publicly and for many years in his Friday sermons that: “Christian women are a loot for every Muslim.”
“¢ I personally heard one of those obsessed religious extremists preaching in a small mosque saying: “Raping Christian women is permissible to oblige them to convert to Islam.”
“¢ Another example is the edict issued by Sheikh Gad-El Haq, the former Imam of Al-Azhar, when answering a question regarding the marriage of a Muslim woman from a Christian man. To answer that question, the former Imam of Al-Azhar issued an edict based on thorough Islamic jurisprudential research which concluded that Jews and Christians are infidels therefore a Muslim woman should not be given into marriage to a non-Muslim whether a Christian or a Jew or others, and the followers of both religions are considered infidels and polytheists.
(Consultant Mohamed Said El-Ashmawy, in “An edict and an article” in El-Ahaly newspaper 10/4/1996).
“¢ One of these edicts is the one issued by Al-Azhar Committee of Edicts in 1996 concerning the legality of marrying a Christian man to a Muslim woman: “This is forbidden since Islam is superior to all other religions. And children should follow the better religion of the parents according to the jurisprudential rule.”
-Hisham Khalifa, an attorney and in Al-Ahram newspaper on 9/16/1996 “Legal Matters” column says: “an act that involves disbelief such as going to church.”
“Islam is unique amongst world beliefs being the only one that we can call a ‘religion.’ Also, Christianity as sent by God to Issa” (Jesus) — Peace be upon him — was lost after his death.” (Hussein Moaness in October magazine on 15/3/1992.)
“¢ In dealing with Christians, a Muslim feels supremacy and does not consider those infidels worthy of any respect or appreciation — they cannot be admired or held in high esteem. On the contrary, they are like cattle or even worse, regardless of any successful worldly achievements. (The Muslims Magazine on 10/29/1993).
“¢ Look at the venom propagated against non-Muslims by Zaghloul El-Naggar in his weekly article in Al-Ahram newspaper:
“Infidels, polytheists and hypocrites, especially the people of the book who falsified their religion, and the Jews, those criminals who were the pivot of disbelief throughout history, as they are still today, and will be until the end of days?they represent the woorst image of disbelief.” (Al-Ahram 7/15/2002)
“The positions of some of the people of the book towards their pacts and the devastation incurred on the infidels due to their breaching of treaties such as the followers of both Moses and Issa (Jesus) –Peace be upon them — then the exoneration of Jesus from the false claims of divinity.” (Al-Ahram 1/1/2002)
It becomes clear that Judaism is not a religion but rather a sickness that infects the sound natural instinct and causes it to deviate from its humane track to fall into the demonic circle.” (Al-Ahram 7/22/2002)
“¢ Abdel Gawad Yassin says: “From a national perspective, a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian and atheists are all the same, but according to Islam, they are not at all the same. And they lie under a category different than that of Muslims under Islamic Sharia Laws. In an Islamic state — whatever its name is — they should be made to pay the jizya (special taxes paid by non-Muslims), they should not share in ruling the country and there should not be any reliance on them in Jihad or defense. They should always be in a status that makes them feel the strength of Islam and its greatness, righteousness, generosity, dignity, benevolence and tolerance, i.e. they should be kept in a position that compels them to convert to Islam.” (Source: Abdel-Gawad Yassin, A Prologue to the jurisprudence of contemporary pre-Islamic Ignorance, 1986)
“¢ Another example is the statement of Mostafa Mashhour, the previous leader of the “Muslim Brotherhood” issued in Al-Ahram Weekly on 4/3/1997, where he said: “Copts should pay the jizya instead of joining the army to avoid their alliance with the enemy in case of fighting against a Christian country.”
“¢ Let’s also read what the students in Assiut University, Suhag branch, had to study in their book “Basics of Education”:
1. Christianity hallowed Jesus exactly as the Marxists did.
2. Christianity, just as Judaism is an Egyptian Judaic concoction.
3. Christianity is based on Judaism and the latter is not a religion.
4. Christianity was inoculated with paganism.
5. Christianity has turned into a pagan religion.
6. Human fiddling around with Christianity changed it into a mixture of both Judaism and paganism.
7. The Apostle Paul pretended to be a Christian to distort Christianity.
“¢ You can imagine what the children are taught in what are called Islamic schools and also public schools (by the way 22% of the educational system in Egypt is Islamic education set on infusing hatred against followers of other religions calling for their expulsion and eradication). We read in one of the books of the children’s curricula:
1. A Muslim washes his hands before and after eating.
2. A Muslim walks quietly and with dignity.
3. Christians are the misguided.
4. The only religion accepted by Allah is Islam and no religion other than Islam satisfies Allah.
If Muslims followed those venomous edicts they would have totally eradicated Copts from Egypt, but thank God that many Muslims are more humane and civilized than their Imams and their traditions. No wonder that the extremists are called “The Friday Party,” since the Muslim would be a normal person until he starts to frequently attend the Friday prayer behind one of these Imams. Then he turns into a strange creature who wants to prey on anyone who is not a Muslim and if he does not find one he will prey on his own community and even himself as was the case in Afghanistan, Algeria and Sudan, etc.
What do we expect from the criminals and the culprits who are waiting for a legal excuse to accomplish their vile and despicable desires? Isn’t it true that these edicts and venomous writings created the “Permissibility” principle, which is: “Confiscating the properties of the Copts and exterminating their souls and daughters is permissible.”
The culprits are not the sole villainous criminals, but those who throw such edicts at their feet are integral partners of the crime.
3-Racist Judicial Verdicts
It is not just edicts and writings that incite against everything Coptic, but the judicial system also contributed in this auction with a countless number of racist verdicts. The comical verdicts against the murderers of Copts throughout half a century are enough of indications that the judicial system is not acquitted from what is happening to the Copts, take these examples:
In one verdict, it was pronounced that a Muslim is the honorable person and a non-Muslim lacks honor (Case number 2473, the year of 1953 El Sayeda Zeinab court). A ruling to end the custody of a Coptic mother to her Muslim son when her husband converted to Islam, the court stated in it justification that “it is feared that the child might be affected by the customs of disbelief had he stayed with his mother” (Case number 17 of the year 1961, Alexandria court of appeals). The custodianship of a Coptic father to his two children was cancelled when the mother converted to Islam, as according to the court ruling, “The children must follow the better religion and Islam is the best of religions” (Case number 462 of the year of 1958, Alexandria Lower Court).
As for the witnesses in the case, they are all non-Muslims, whose testimonies are not acceptable as their testimony is against a Muslim according to the Hanafi School of jurisprudence that is agreed upon, as testimony is part of the authority, and a non-Muslim should not have any authority over a Muslim. (Ruling 221 of the court of cassations of the 40 year, Division of Civil Affairs, May 19, 1970)
Those who embrace Islam are subject to the second article of the constitution which states that Islam is the state religion and the Islamic Sharia Law is the main source of legislation, therefore he has no right to revert back to Christianity, otherwise the apostasy law applies on him (Executive court ruling dated 4/8/1980).
The husband leads his wife to bed, therefore he must not be of a lower faith than hers, Allah almighty said Surah 2:221 “Do not marry (your girls) to Unbelievers until they believe” and the messenger of Allah said “Islam is superior and it should not be inferior”. The Islamic jurisprudence derived a consensus from it that a Muslim woman should not marry and infidel, therefore it is a must to separate between the couple and the non-Muslim should be punished in case of consummation, and the Muslim woman should be acquitted, if he converts to Islam after marriage, he should not be relied on with such marriage as it is invalid since the very beginning and will not be rectified by his conversion to Islam. (Alexandria court ruling, issued on April 21, 1957).
A person that converts from Islam is dead in the eyes of the law (Report of the Alexandria general prosecution, 5/29/72).
These are just examples of the racist judicial verdicts, and there are much more up for grabs.
4- Abducting girls is an organized crime
Abducting and converting Coptic girls to Islam is not only a result of the paranoid and racist incitation against the Copts, but it is an organized and pre-planned process by associations and organizations inside Egypt with domestic and Arab funding, as the main role in seducing and luring Coptic girls is carried through cunning, deceit, and enticement or through force if required.
In a lecture delivered by the departed Archbishop Athanasious, the former archbishop of Beni Sueif, he exposed some of the tactics of these organizations in abducting the Coptic girls by containment through friendship that leads at the end to sexual seduction or abduction or involuntary detention in many homes scattered allover Egypt and forcing them to convert to Islam. His Grace pointed out through the narration of one of the Coptic girls who was able to flee, the extent of degradation and decadence of this age, in his lecture, which is considered as a witness against an entire era and I have a copy of, he exclaimed: “Lord, when are you going to save us from this humiliation”.
We have heard before about the “Islamic Guidance Society” established by Hussein El Shafei, the former vice-president and its role in the Islamization process. It is circulated that one of the centers that carries the name of a Palestinian town, is currently carrying out the same role.
The late Dr. Farag Fouda, in his interview with DER SPIEGEL German magazine, exposed the amount of funds flowing to those Islamists from Saudi Arabia, Libya and from wealthy Arabs.
It is odd that 16 years after the interview of the late Dr. Fouda, the French Le Monde in an article — on 9/25/2001, right after September 11th events — entitled “The financial arm of Bin Ladin extends from the Gulf to Europe,” reported on the amounts of funds flowing to the pernicious Islamists in Egypt and around the world from a financial network with virtual body consisted of tens of companies, charity organizations, and banks. Amongst the banks mentioned were “The Islamic Solidarity Bank”, “Faisal Islamic Bank”, “Dubai Islamic Bank”, ” Dar Al-Maal Al-Islami Trust, and “Islamic Relief Organization” among the aims of these funds was to proselytize for Islam with all means, much of the money flowed to Egypt to convert the Copts to Islam and eradicate this minority that is deeply rooted in the Egyptian history and the Egyptian soil.
What a deplorable goal! How can we envision the Middle East without Christians? Truly stated by Muhammad Hassanein Heikal, the writer, along with prince Talal Bin Abdel-Aziz. The number of Muslims increased by hundreds of millions within the last five decades as a result of reproduction and conversion, as Huntington said, yet their poverty, misery, weakness, and tyranny multiplied. Do they so feel the lack of a few million Copts that they must pressure them through all shameful means to abandon the faith of their ancestors?
5- The conscience of the Muslim majority
Unfortunately, and with the exception of a very a small number of Egyptians, the conscience of the majority is too sensitive when it comes to what happened to the women of Bosnia, Kosovo and the extremists of Afghanistan and the Chechen Mujahideen. Yet it’s an expansive conscience that swallows the camel when it comes to the Copts, their problems and the attacks on their daughters. Their religious fanaticism has blinded them from seeing the dangers threatening the country and from feeling the pain that their co-citizens feel, it has also debilitated their humane sense shared by all human beings.
Humanity was there before religions and nations. Jalal Amin says, “Muslims and Copts are not sects, but a majority and a minority: and the majority is responsible for safeguarding security more than the minority as the majority controls the police, the government, the newspapers, radio, television and schools. The majority is ought to be more capable of self control out of its feeling of self confidence being a majority, and it is supposed to hold more power to practice patience and tolerance with a higher degree, because the stronger ought to accommodate the weaker.”
But unfortunately, dear Dr. Jalal, the majority created the unrest and the Coptic minority kept the stability of the country through its excessive tolerance, its absorption of crises and its continuous perseverance against the silliness of the majority… What the majority is doing could be called “The collaboration of the silent majority.” The late Dr. Farag Fouda was right when he said “Cairo will be completely consumed with fire if a Muslim doorman converted to Christianity.” Let me add that Egypt will be completely consumed with fire if a Coptic young man abducted a minor Muslim girl, raped her and converted her to Christianity, but of course when the opposite takes place, the government media cheers it and the fanatic mind gets exuberant.
When we expose — with documents — the shameful acts of fanaticism against the Copts, the juveniles of the security agencies in the media rush to incriminate and insult the victim!
6- Negativity of the Copts
The diminished Coptic trust in all government institutions and their feel of discrimination from the policeman to the judicial personals has increased their negativity and their perplexity, which led them to look for external help or await a heavenly miracle.
Last year, I was awakened at five o’clock in the morning by a phone call from a Copt in Beni Sueif, Egypt, who was crying out saying, “Help me get my only daughter back, she is studying at the college of commerce and she was abducted by one of the Muslims, his wife came to the phone who started crying and weeping.” I felt the extent of injustice when the government, with all its might collaborates against a helpless citizen. Despite the fact that we are doing all we can to help those poor people, the Copts should abandon their negative attitude and protest against all the unjust practices with all peaceful and legal means domestically and internationally.
What is left for this citizen and others after losing his only daughter? Why can’t he go on food strike with his wife in front of the presidential palace? It is his legal right after all: to awaken the human conscience to his tragedy. Why don’t they go and protest in front of the United Nations headquarters in Cairo? Why don’t they go to the foreign media networks and press reporters heavily present in Cairo?
Amid the government’s inaction and its collaboration, awakening the international conscience is the more effective mean in exposing these wolves and those who support them.
The United States has dedicated its gigantic media system to expose one villain, that is Uday Saddam Hussein, but who will help the poor Copts in exposing tens of villains widely spread inside the Egyptian body?