A recent wave of kidnappings in upper Egypt of female teenagers has the local Christian community there "paralyzed," warns International Christian Concern representatives. ICC issued a D.C.-based news release, indicating at least seven disappearance cases now have happened, and that the missing girls were taken "likely to be forcefully married and converted to Islam."
Among those missing is Amal Shaky, 19, kidnapped presumably on her way to Cairo University, according to ICC. She is the fourth of six confirmed kidnapping cases, reports ICC.
Shaky's family first thought she had attended a party after going to her college classes one day, but when she did not appear at home that evening and did not answer cell phone calls, they searched the campus and spoke to those who attended the party in question; they said she had not been present. Shaky's family then went to the police, who suggested to her father that he had killed his daughter and thrown away the body, reported Christian Today.
After harassing the father, Christian Today reports the officer refused to file a report and asked for a few hours to investigate the matter.
"More than 40 days have passed since my daughter was kidnapped, and they say that the matter is under investigation," Shaky's father told International Christian Concern. "I don't know how long I should wait. Wait until they tell me that my daughter is killed or got married?"
ICC stated that Shaky's father said the police eventually wrote a report stating she was "missing," rather than stating she was "kidnapped."
To make matters worse, this was the second time Shaky had been kidnapped, according to her family and ICC. On April 4, 2011, she reportedly was taken by four men. Her relatives were able to secure her return and have one of the assailants convicted and imprisoned for seven years. However, ICC indicated Shaky's family the man was never arrested and the sentence was not executed.
Tension has been rising in Egypt. In fact, Human Rights Watch recently reported that Egyptian security forces arrested tortured 20 people, including eight children.
World Watch Monitor detailed how a few weeks ago, a Christian boy was kidnapped in upper Egypt and released days later after a large ransom was paid. Anthonius Farag, 13, was taken outside his school in the village of Mansheyyit Manbal. A Muslim child was released at the same time after the kidnappers established his religion, reports Christian Today.
According to the Coalition of Coptic Egypt, a Coptic advocacy group, the Upper Egyptian province of Qena reflected 72 cases of kidnappings, extortion and related violence against Copts in the period from 2011 to 2014, the most recent figures available.