Originally published by International Christian Concern
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learnt that at least eight Egyptian Christians from the Minya province have been abducted since January 25, 2014. The abductions, thought to be carried out by members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), are just a handful among the hundreds of similar cases in the last few years.
On January 25, a “Muslim mob” abducted a 17-year-old Christian boy named Marcos Zakaria, Ezzat Ibrahim, the director of the World Center for Human Rights in Minya and Assiut, told ICC. Zakaria lived in Upper Egypt in Dier Mawas city in Minya province and is a student in his final year of secondary school. The kidnappers “contacted his family demanding a ransom of a million Egyptian pounds for his return,” said Ibrahim.
On February 1, a 10-year-old boy named Marcos Ibrahim Ayoub, was abducted “by a Muslim mob” from his father’s farm in the village of Barsha in Minya Province, Ibrahim told ICC. That same day, in Khanka city in Qalyubia Governorate, a 10-year-old Christian girl named Sandy Girgis Ramses was kidnapped in a similar fashion while she was playing in front of her home, Ihab Mourad, a Christian in Khanka, told ICC. In both cases, the kidnappers have demanded ransom, though neither of the children has yet to be recovered.
Shop owner, 23-year-old Nazlat El Malak, was abducted from his store on February 1 when he refused to pay extortion fees to “armed Muslim thugs,” according to Nashat Khalf, a Christian in Sahel Selim. El Malak is from Sahel Selim city in the Assiut Governorate. The day before, on January 31, those same thugs stole a car and pick-up truck from Christians and demanded they be given an exorbitant fee for their return.
On February 2, “masked Muslims abducted Esther Kadis at gunpoint while she was on her way to church,” said Ayoub Wasfy, a Christian from her city, Nag Hammadi. That same day, police arrested the kidnappers and released Esther back to her family.
“On Monday evening, February 3, a mob of armed Muslims abducted two Christians at gunpoint,” said Ibrahim. The two men, Ashraf Sobhi Khalil and Magdy Fayez, are residents of Deir El Malak village and El Bayadeya village respectively. Known to be Christians, the men were transporting sand when they stopped to change a flat tire and were abducted. The kidnappers have demanded a ransom from each of their families.
On Tuesday, February 4 a 25-year-old Christian, Kerolos Adel Abdel-Malak, was abducted at gunpoint enroute from Minya city to his home in the village of Towa. The kidnappers demanded a ransom for his safe return and threatened his family that they “will kill him if they report this to the police,” Ibrahim told ICC.
Jeff King, president of ICC says, “It is clear that Muslim radicals, most likely MB members, are targeting Christians in Egypt, specifically in the Minya province. It is in Egypt’s best interest to pay attention to and do something about this matter, as funds received from these illegal activities likely fuel the MB radicalism that is tearing at the very fabric of this great country.”