They Cry in Silence Jan/Feb 2012

Imagine your 12-year-old daughter or granddaughter is on her way home from school. Several men jump out of a van and abduct her. Then they beat and rape her every day for months.

That is what happened to Engy Adel. Her tragic story exposes life in Egypt for Christians, particularly after the “Arab Spring.” Below is an excerpt from “Abductions, Forced Marriages, and Conversion of Christian Girls in Egypt” in the November 2011 online newsletter Persecution, published by International Christian Concern. The revolting details provide only a brief glimpse into the nightmare Christians face in Muslim countries:

[The] story is merely one among hundreds involving the disappearances of Christian girls following Egypt’s revolution. The lawlessness ruling Egypt’s streets and the lack of justice applied in her courts has emboldened radical Islamists to target Egypt’s most vulnerable and defenseless minority—Christians.

In April of 2010, U.S. officials recognized for the first time the disappearances of Christian girls in Egypt as a form of human trafficking. Eighteen members of Congress wrote to the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) office concerning “reports of abductions, forced marriages, and exploitation of Coptic women and girls in Egypt.” They also stated that human trafficking in Egypt is often accompanied by acts of violence, including rape, beatings, and other forms of physical and mental abuse.

Few cases epitomize the harsh reality of human trafficking in Egypt more than that of 12-year-old Engy Adel who was fortunate enough to escape and tell about the barbarity she experienced. Engy was abducted while on her way home from school in Alexandria. Interviewed on Al-Hayat television, she explained what happened:

I was coming out of school on a normal day going home. Then there was a van and some guys who came out of the van and began following me. Then two of them grabbed me and tied my arms and pushed me into the van. I woke up and found myself in an apartment. . . . A man called Sultan took me into the room and tied my hands behind my back and raped me. Another four entered in and, one after the other, they raped me. Each raped me and was brutally hurting my body as if I was their enemy. They beat me so heavily . . . that I could neither eat, drink nor sleep. All they cared for was that I took the drugs [so they could] rape me.

Another group of men came and took me away from them. I stayed with them two days and I don’t know how these two days passed by. There were five of them. They were all in the room with me at the same time. I couldn’t tell the difference between day and night—I was raped 24/7. No less than 50 men raped me. After that my father found me and brought me back home.

Engy’s captivity lasted for months until her father, Adel Wassily, found her after being notified of her location by an anonymous caller.

Like Engy, victimized girls are often underage Christians from poor, uneducated families. Muslim men use societal prejudices to their advantage, knowing that police officers and court officials will not give a poor Coptic family the time of day….Once Muslim kidnappers force their victim to sign documents claiming she married and converted to Islam, the hope of her return is all but lost.

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