Coptic Girls Forced to Convert to Islam
The following is from the website http://www.human-rights-and-christian-persecution.org/coptic.html
Heidi Hakim Mankerious Salib was a student in Year 12 at Road El Farag Secondary School for Girls. Heidi was planning to come to Australia in 2005, live with her brother, and begin tertiary study.
However, her plans never came to fruition. On April 6 last year, when Heidi was just 17, Mustafa Ahmed Mohamed — a man belonging to a local Muslim extremist group led by Sheikh Osama El Batta — threatened Heidi with violence if she refused to meet him later in the day. He told her to bring her bank book and valuables with her.
"...scissors were used to try and cut out the Christian cross tattooed onto her wrist."
Heidi did as she was told. Over the next 27 hours, Heidi was drugged, raped, forced to wear the Islamic veil, and scissors were used to try and cut out the Christian cross that was tattooed onto her wrist.
When Heidi did not return from her schooling on that day, the Salib family became very anxious and reported her disappearance to the police. They named Mustafa as a suspect – he had been watching Heidi from his balcony across the road from their house. The police brought Mustafa in for questioning, but then they refused to fill in a missing persons report for the family, since Mustafa presented Heidi’s valuables and claimed she was running away from her family. He also said Heidi was staying over at his friend’s house that night. No charges were laid against him.
On April 7, Heidi was taken to a police station where she was made to sign a paper that she had converted to Islam. She was told by Sheikh Osama that they would use this document after she turned 18 on February 14, 2005.
At 1:00pm that afternoon, the police told the Salib family that they had found Heidi. But the Salibs were prevented from seeing her and were told to come back later. When Heidi’s father and her priest were finally able to see her, Heidi seemed drugged and delirious—clearly she had been terrorised.
Heidi, her father and the priest were taken to a magistrate of the National Security Office, who questioned her about her relationship with Mustafa. Heidi said he was her husband. (However, any marriage Heidi took part in would be in contravention of Egyptian law, which forbids a man to marry a woman under the age of 18, without the consent of her parents.) The party returned to the police station, to find the local Egyptian Assembly member for the Road El Farag Electorate, Abd-El Rahman Rady, speaking with authorities in support of Mustafa and Sheikh Osama.
Following this incident, the Salibs’ car was rammed by a car full of men – Mustafa among them – and the Salibs were forced to flee for their lives. They took refuge in a monastery for several days, and later took Heidi to Alexandria for treatment for the effects of the drugs and the trauma she had endured. Then, on June 2, 2004, Heidi went missing while in Alexandria. The family believe she was kidnapped by the same men.
To date, the family have repeatedly contacted the authorities in Egypt – including the President, the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights, and Egyptian consular representatives in Australia, with little response. Police continue to describe her as a "runaway".
Neveen Maher Albert Morcos, 19, was a student at a tourism college in Alexandria. She was a devout Coptic Christian who regularly attended St Demiana Church, El Wardian. When she told her parents she was considering becoming a nun, they urged her to take time over the decision, and go to see her confession father - who at the time was in the neighbouring city of Damanhour.
"When a second session was called, Neveen didn’t turn up."
Neveen made an appointment to see him on February 14, 2005. Though she left the morning, she didn’t return. Her confession father confirmed she never arrived for the appointment. The Morcos family filed a missing persons report with the local police station and State Security Office. Over the next week, the family repeatedly contacted the authorities, but police had nothing to report. Finally, on the eighth day, police informed the Morcos family that Neveen had decided to convert to Islam.
Two priests were summoned by the authorities to hold a “religious guidance session” with Neveen. (Egyptian law mandates these sessions for people wanting to convert from Christianity to Islam.) When the priests interviewed Neveen, she appeared to be under intense pressure, was slow to answer simple questions, repeated the same statements over and over, and became very anxious when they mentioned her family. When a second session was called, Neveen didn’t turn up.
A number of breaches of the law implicate the authorities in the mistreatment of this young woman—the religious guidance sessions were held in the National Security Headquarters (instead of a neutral location), Neveen’s identification papers were manufactured by SSS officials at the last minute, and the Morcos family was prevented from attending any proceedings. Since March 3, the Morcos family has received no information from the Egyptian police or State Security Service. Protests and letters to President Mubarak, the Interior Minister, the General Prosecutor, and the Governor of Alexandria, have received no response. Neveen’s whereabouts is still unknown.