Archive for August, 2006

An Abusive Mother: Why the Coptic Church Does More Harm to Her Children Than Good

August 18, 2006

If you know anything about abusive relationships, you’ll know that the pattern is generally “Abuse >>> Buy off >>> Abuse >>> Buy off.” Kind of like “Husband beats wife, wife weeps, husband feels guilty and/or wants to get back in Wifey’s good graces, husband buys flowers and jewelry for the wife, wife agrees to “kiss and make up,” then he hits her again.” You may ask yourself why the wife would take him back even once, much less all the time, but the truth is that abusive people are oftentimes thousands of times more scintillating and attractive than The Average Joe, and are very talented at reminding their prey, I mean women, of their good points. But, like the nursery rhyme warns, “When he’s good, he’s very very good… but when he’s bad, he’s very very bad.”

That, in a nutshell, is what I’m going to be talking about today.

 But first, a caveat: If you are an average, moderately religious member of the Coptic Orthodox Church, you will likely want to stone me for the title I’ve pasted on this article.  

Since you’re the upstanding paragon of virtue that you are to belong to such a sterling denomination, I ask you to bear with me as I explicate the reasons I’ve chosen to use such strong language, and keep in mind that I would never say a bad word about Jesus Christ or the Bible.

I cannot, however, keep silent regarding my thoughts as to why the Coptic Orthodox Church—I said CHURCH, not FAITH, by the way—is to blame for the ills of modern-day Egypt.

As I see it, the majority of today’s clergy commit three main sins that keep the vicious circle going; in addition to this, it was actually the Coptic Church that let Islam into
Egypt. 
 

You did know that the Church welcomed the Muslims in (with open arms), thinking they would save our ancestors from the Evil Romans (who were, admittedly, bad news), right?

And you did know that it was a Copt who killed Youssef Bek (the also-Christian successor of Botros Ghaly 100 years ago) right?

I believe the word for this is “Sellout,” kind of like when some black Africans sold some other black Africans into slavery, but that’s beside the point and I think I just confused myself more than you.

For now, here are the three biggest problems that so many Aboonas contribute to.

 

  1. If there is a problem of any sort, their first—and sometimes only—advice is “Ok, child, go and pray, and God will solve it.” This is not to say that there is anything wrong with praying, only that if we relied on prayer for everything and neglected to do our part, then WE, not God, are to blame for any mishaps or non-actions that come about. For example, if I pray for 5 hours that I will get an A+ on my test, and yet neglect to study for it, then is God to be blamed for my failure? Or if my husband wants to lose 20 kilos and prays daily, or lights candles around a framed portrait of Baba Kyrillos, then do you think he (hubby) will slim down if all he eats are Twinkies, Twizzlers and Moon Pies? Of course not. We have to do our part in everything—from the cessation of our 2-packs-a-day smoking habit, to making
    Egypt a great place for everyone to live and thrive. Unfortunately, though, and as I mentioned above, the clergy aren’t—and, admittedly, can’t be (if they want to preserve their not-so-horrible relations with the largely Muslim government in
    Egypt, or the non-Orthodox in the west, anyway)—as supportive of action as they could be. This “Settle Down” philosophy is contributed to by the second main sin of the clergy, which is:
  2. The priesthood are on pretty good, or at least decent, terms with the government.  This could be why they counsel us to “just pray” rather than stand up and get something done. They don’t want to rock the boat. They feel it’s better to keep the peace with outside factions than it is to make a stand for once in their fat lives and make a difference! But maybe, just maybe, they don’t understand what the ruckus is all about (in
    Egypt or in the west). It doesn’t hit close enough to home. They don’t go through what their parishioners go through. In other words, for the most part, the clergy don’t get attacked, they aren’t egregiously impoverished, they always have food to eat and a car to drive, and they don’t have to constantly worry about being fired. An old Public Enemy song called “911 is a Joke” has the line “They don’t care coz they get paid anyway.” I don’t mean that the clergy don’t care, just that they would be more compassionate, fight so much harder for their people if they walked for even one day in a shoe that wasn’t made of gold.
  3. The last main thing that I feel is problematic is the fact that the clergy (for the most part) don’t believe in the “Three Musketeers” motto of “All for one and one for all.” That is, everyone stands behind them, but they can’t—or just plain don’t—stand behind everyone. Meaning, if someone badmouthed Baba Shenouda, you know that thousands of Copts from everywhere—
    Egypt,
    Australia,
    Canada, the States, etc.—would be all over the badmouther. They would lodge complaints, post comments on websites, send nasty emails, and maybe even physically attack someone who cast the slightest shadow on their Baba. On the other hand, while Copts would certainly feel the situation of a fellow Copt who was in danger—praying for them, searching for them if they were lost, or whatever—how many times out of 100 would the clergy themselves band together and stand up and take action to save this poor fallen individual? It seems as though the people are doing all the work and the clergy are the ones reaping all the rewards: getting kisses on their hands, getting tons of dinner invitations, and making a great name for themselves.

 A runner-up in this contest of “What’s more wrong?” is the fact that the Church always seems to act in its own best interest, in a manner that will not only preserve its sovereignty, but its financial and sociocultural well-being. And by that I mean that the church is protecting its role as “The Last Word” in every Copt’s life.  

You have to know where this is going: they’re making sure people will always be beholden to them, so that they won’t lose their jobs.

Some might even say that that’s why the Orthodox church even bothers with Sacraments that need to be administered BY a priest—so they’ll always be needed. (Flashing back to the start of this article, let it be said that parishioners who think they’re in God’s good graces, as evidenced by their partaking in the solely priest-administered Sacraments, could be said to feel “very very good.”)

And if the priests were acting with the best interest of the people in mind, I would fully support this. But as I mentioned above, the main concern is with preserving the hierarchy and finances. (This is a prime example of the Church being “very very bad.”)

You know, that’s why many Copts convert: because the Muslims are generous enough to help their people and their potential people (meaning people they think are good candidates to convert to Islam), whereas the Coptic church rarely digs into her own pocket to help out a poor family or an individual who’s fallen on hard times (of any sort).

This phenomena (of the Church having to be in control) is very sad, my friends, because it allows people to think they can just “go through the motions” to attain salvation. “Oh, I did what Aboona said, so I’m good now.” But I don’t want to get into theology right now, as I have a few things left to say about the Church and her lack of good parenting skills.

Have you noticed that when the Church supports something, EVERYONE goes along with it, almost unthinkingly? And how a scant turnout is almost guaranteed if the Church didn’t put their stamp on it?

This could be because the clergy (being Egyptian) sometimes drag their feet on some things, and take ages to get back to the people who need them (apparently their family life is more important than the spiritual lives of their spiritual children. Maybe the Catholics have the right idea…?).

This could also be because the Church is smart enough to know that if they support something they aren’t going to directly benefit from, they might find themselves in a situation where they basically created a monster, a monster who might one day fight them for material resources and food (members, I mean).

I really wish that the people reading this would realize once and for all that the Church isn’t the ultimate authority for what’s ok and what’s not ok. (The Bible is!)

I wish people would understand that they have minds to think with, and that the church—while important—doesn’t always consider things from our angle, from the parishioner’s angle.

In fact, I daresay that the church doesn’t consider any angle other than the angle of “What’s good for the Church.”

And may I add that this is NOT a case of “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” where the goose is the Church and the gander is the average, run-of-the-mill, “I just want to live my life and make a difference and not get killed for wearing a cross”  Copt.

 By Sara Ghorab

https://saraghorab.wordpress.com

Equality in Egypt Campaign

August 17, 2006

I’ve been asked to post this link to the EQUALITY IN EGYPT CAMPAIGN.

You should link it, too.

Pretty please..!

Faisal, Aleistar Crowley, and An Alarmingly Mischievious Sara.

August 16, 2006

(I always misspell that word! Sorry.)

Greets, Faisal, thanks for your thoughtful reply, and more so for not hating me for being less-than-supportive of the religion you were born into.

I’ll include your (somewhat edited) replies in italics, just in case you forgot what you said, uh, five minutes ago. Here goes..

Thing about Free Speech, to me, is this: You can do whatever you want with only your conscience to guide you. If your conscience is clear, alrighty then. Understandably, this doesn’t mean everyone will support or agree with your opinion, but Free Speech is ABSOLUTE. Same goes for Freedom of Religion. Finally (yeah, sorry for the length of this thing), I wish to mention two things:

Well.. not to bring up one of those hypothetical situations that makes people wonder if you’re actually 4-years-old under a twenty-something exterior, but.. what about insane people? Or sociopaths? Where should the line be drawn? I could kill my boss, frame my least favorite coworker for it, steal 12 women’s husbands (and their mistresses, for good measure) and walk off with the Hope Diamond and, theoretically, think nothing amiss.

Also, this ‘let your conscience be your guide’ philosophy is alarmingly reminiscent of Aleistar Crowley, a fake magician who said “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” as well as the Wiccan Rede, which states “An it harm none, do as thou wilt.”

Well, I have news for you, I would LOVE to do what I wanted! You have no idea how much mischief I have left in my bones! But more on that in a sec.

1. I would be foolish to claim that my Islamic up-bringing would not make me more biased (or more likely to feel the urge to defend my official faith) towards Islam when it comes to discussions and arguments… though, er, “supernatural being” knows I try!

Hah, amusing, that last.. 🙂

2. I think that if you do “good things” (you figure out what they are) and don’t do “bad things” (you figure them out too) then you will, if such a place exists and I’m not going to think about it, go to a “good place”. If it turns out that the whole thing was a hoax, then at least you did good things in “life” on Earth.

Well, Faisal, that sounds lovely, only if everyone figures out their own “good things” and “bad things,” then we’re going to have a big fat problem on our hands, because human nature isn’t exactly angelic to begin with. Christianity aside, the nature of a human is to take what he can get, to seek his own.. er, I’ve forgotten the word in English. To seek masla7to ya3ni.

So the first problem with your second point–to my mind, anyhow–is that a subjective world will soon be a dead world, because nearly no-one will behave in the best interest of others, if he doesn’t have to. I know for a fact that I would be drinking, smoking, clubbing, going around with all sorts of men, getting revenge on my meaner-than-mean co-workers, lying to my heart’s content, not caring about those less fortunate than myself, yadda yadda. Maybe you aren’t as naughty as I am (in heart ya3ni) or maybe you think that my list of sins is more wussy than you care to mention, but whatever.

The second problem with point 2 is that, well, being as flawed as we are in nature, we can never expect God, the only Holy being anywhere, to be able to even look at us, as steeped in filth and sin as we are. (Always assuming you believe in God, but I seem to remember that you don’t, so let’s make it the generalizable “you”.) Point being, imperfect sinners need a bridge to God.

So, even if the whole thing was a hoax and we ended up being “good” on earth, this doesn’t mean we’re home free, because what if Christianity is true, and we DO need that bridge to God? (Meaning Jesus.) Even if we did “good” things (by anyone’s standards), we would still fall short of the glory of God, ‘miss the mark,’ as it were, and end up in hell.

Point being, if you REALLY and TRULY think that there’s nothing out there, then there should be nothing holding you back from truly doing whatever it is that you want to. And if you’re able to do those things, then you’re either a stronger and more courageous man than I (being unafraid of ‘what’s next,’ I mean), or my “I wish” list is more dorky than I gave it credit for.

Sorry for a long entry which probably didn’t add much in terms of substance.

Don’t say that, friend! These discussions are important, and I hope you’ll think about what I said inshallah. Can’t wait for the next round, and here’s hoping it’s twice as long as this reply was! Salaam and rabena ma3ak ya Faisal.. (and everyone else..)

Me, Speechless?

August 15, 2006

First and foremost, I would like to both thank my new readers and welcome them with open arms.

Second of all, to Passing By and Faisal… I really don’t know what to say. I would love to get into a theological debate and tell you exactly why I believe that Islam isn’t a religion of peace, but I fear that this will neither convince you nor get me off the hook for seeming like a horrible person for saying what I said, and believing what I do.

Furthermore, I have a feeling that Faisal, at least, is pro-Copt as a function of his youth and agnosticism. Assuming I’m right to think that the anti-Other sentiment is more commonly found in older folks who inherited their beliefs from the previous generation, without having questioned it.

I don’t understand, however, how my dear Faisal can be offended by things seeming anti-Islamic when he himself wouldn’t consider himself Islamic? I guess just for the sake of free speech and freedom of religion?

To my other friend Passing By (and I’m so glad you did!) I wonder if your interpretation of Islam is the one agreed upon by imams and other religious clergy? See, your devotion to it, and the fact that you seem so positively influenced might make someone like me interested in converting, since you are much kinder (seemingly 🙂 and more tolerant (again, seemingly) than so many Christians I’ve met, particularly from the Copts. (I think this may have to do with Egyptians in general being “mot3ebeen 3ala 7ello,” but maybe this is just me.)

I just don’t think that your version of Islam is the Islam that is 100% agreed upon by the clergy.

If it were a question of “do the PEOPLE agree?”, then I could certainly understand the discrepancy–after all, don’t Christians not only disagree about the Scriptures, but also what constitutes the scriptures?

(For examples, Protestant Evangelicals look to the Bible alone, whereas the Orthodox look at the traditions of the church, from whence they get the Liturgy and the saints and such things like that. I myself am Non-denominational, having been caught in the crossfire for so long..)

My dear friends, I am so sad for the miscommunication between “you guys” and “us,” and the fact that there even is a divide that keeps us from being in the same category.

Thank you for following this debate, and I hope that, as we continue it, we will grow closer to truth and to each other, rather than being driven further apart.

Quick Reply To Comments

August 14, 2006

Thank you to everyone for your comments, and I am sorry it took so long to moderate them.

I would like to say–because “Fundmental Islamist” kasafny 3ala dammi–that it is not the Muslims who are kelab. I have no problem with Muslims, and in fact have taken lots of flak from other Arab Christians who didn’t like my tribute to the good Muslims, “Why Can’t a Christian be More like a Muslim?”

Many people called me a traitor because I made the statement that many Muslims are kinder and nicer than many Christians, despite the fact that it is Christianity that teaches kindness, and Islam that teaches murder.

I did not mean to malign the Muslim community, but to jab the Christian community who are Christian only in name, and who do not live their faith.

That being said, I most definitely do not support Islam, and feel, as many do, that the only people who know what they’re talking about with respect to “The True Islam” are people like Osama Bin Laden.

To the Christians who are upset with my comments about Muslims being generous, it’s true! I do not mean to suggest that they don’t have an ulterior motive–the ultimate conversion of the “infidels” in front of them, but don’t we also?

 I never thought I’d see anyone get more flak than Dr. Ahmed Salib, http://ahmedsalib.wordpress.com/2006/07/08/to-those-who-hate-islamophobes/ , but I guess I deserve it. (Don’t I? This entry today seems almost identical to the link above, but I guess any person who is anti-Islam and pro-human will hear kalam zay el simm from both sides.)

Anyway, peace and thanks for reading.

The Price of Refusing Islam

August 13, 2006

 

In years past, the price of refusing Islam—for Copts in
Egypt, anyway—included either paying the Jizia (Humiliation Tax), or dying by the sword. (Some entrepreneurial Muslims had the clever idea of collecting the tax and THEN ramming their swords into their victim’s midsection.) And, in the interest of furthering the new “Official Language of Islam,” Arabic, Copts were forced to learn this new tongue—unless they felt like having theirs ripped out.
 

Gruesome images, I know. But unfortunately, we’re only getting started with the horror show. 

See, a young man, Hani Sarofim Nasrala Issak, who was a soldier in the Egyptian Army until very recently, has departed this earth.  

Not by accident, and not in a nice way. And I would say “not by choice,” but the truth is that he, in some fashion, chose it. 

He didn’t choose to be tortured in such a way that his hands and face were burned almost beyond recognition, he didn’t ask his murderers to throw him in the river, leaving him there to die (if he wasn’t already dead, which I find hard to believe, given the extent of the torture that he was subjected to). 

But he DID choose to remain a Christian when his boss, his immediate supervisor in the Army, “ordered” him to “reject Christianity” and embrace Islam. 

Let us have a look at the statement that Hani’s family released about the tragegy: 

“We found him drowned in the Nile near the city of Nag Hamadi. Marks of torture covered the entirety of his body. Earlier, Hani had told his family that there were problems between him and the direct leader of his unit because Hani was a Christian. He also told his family that his leader used to molest and torture him in front of his peer soldiers. When his leader asked him blatantly to reject Chrisitianity and convert to Islam, Hani refused and told him he would notify the military intelligence. The leader threatened him saying “Ok Hani, I will settle things with you!” The leader subsequently arranged to kill Hani by sending him to a station near his village, at Nag Al-Ghaliz of the city of Nag Hamadi, in order to eliminate any suspicions about the plan.” (Sources: http://www.meca-me.org/newsdetails.php?id=386 and http://lanternix.blogspot.com/ ) 

Horrible. Awful. Unimaginable.  

Actually, and most unfortunately, this scenario is imaginable, because that’s how things are in Egypt, much of the time.  

And by “how things are,” I mean that being harrassed, tormented, and yes, tortured, isn’t a rarity in Egypt.  

Not for Christians, at least.  

Not for “Ahl El Ketab” who wish to stay that way.  (Ahl el Ketab is Koran-speak for “people of the book,” which refers to Christians and Jews, who look to the Bible and the Torah, respectively.) 

You know what? I am livid. Heartbroken. Sickened that an ANIMAL like Hani’s leader can get away with what he did.  

It’s not all that amusing now, when Hani’s ghost and autopsy photographs are all we have left of him, but Hani’s boss (and other Muslims) like to call us “Ahl el Ketab” when they are actually “Ahl el Kelab,” or “The people of the Dogs.” 

They ARE dogs. Who, but dogs, would torture someone of their own species in that way?  

Actually, comparing these rabid Islamic Fundamentalists with dogs seems cruel to the dogs, so many apologies to Fido, Fluffy, and Fifi. 

Sara Ghorabhttps://saraghorab.wordpress.com  

When An ID Card Is a Life Sentence

August 10, 2006

The Specter of Christianity 

If you live in the States or the West, you may not understand why
Egypt’s Copts sometimes hide their wrists in the company of Muslims. Why the ones named “Mina” or “Bishoy” are sometimes less than forthcoming in offering their name to a new friend named “Khadija” or “Ahmed.” Why many of them feel so passionately about having their religion so boldly printed on their National ID Cards. 
 

See, a tattoo of a cross on an Egyptian’s wrist can mean he won’t get a desirable job, if any. And certain names—blatantly Christian ones—sometimes make Copts the targets of violence, persecution, or even “garden-variety discrimination.”

But tattoos can be hidden, and nicknames given to draw less attention to an Egyptian’s Christianity. Unfortunately, there is no easy cure for having the word “Christian” boldly printed on a person’s ID. That doesn’t mean that people can, should, or do avoid getting this document that makes them a target. 

For example, it wasn’t too long ago that three cousins from Abo Kerkas—Jehan Waneess Klada, Amani Maher Klada, and Theresa Edward Kamal—were on a mission to get IDs, despite the fact that they were 14 and 15 years old. 

Hassan, an employee of the Social Security office (“Segel el Madany”) promised the girls fake IDs. He came through for the young ladies, but the cards erroneously said “Muslim.” 

When the local clergyman saw the false religious affiliation on the IDs, he understood the ramifications of the “mistake,” and hid the girls in a convent for several days, in order to protect them. They were then released into the custody of their relatives, who soon found themselves confronted by a taxi and several armed men, including two called “Sheikh Ahmed” and “Sheikh Ali,” one of whom cussed them out, saying “Ya welad el kalb, azebtoony wi dawakhtoony osboa alekom.” (You sons of the dog, you made me dizzy for a week, looking for you!) 

The men took the three girls to a store selling Islamic dress, and clothed the girls in the neqab, or the veil that covers the face. After this branding of a sort, the girls were divested of the crosses tattooed on their wrists, via acid. 

The kidnappers took the girls to the village of  Kodeska, and installed them in a house for several days. While the denizens of the house were preparing for a round of prayers, the girls were left alone, and Theresa went wandering, in search of a bathroom. She instead came across a door leading to the street, and fled the house.  She was able to take a taxi and eventually arrived to her uncle’s house in Shobra (Cairo). She went online to tell of her ordeal, and then went to the police and reported it to them.  

A police officer took her back to the village, so that Theresa could identify the house, but alas, what was meant as an informative trip was made at midnight, confusing the girl. The police officer swore at her and slapped her around a bit, and decried her a liar. But at least she was free. 

Several days later—yesterday, in fact— the other girls were released, but only on the condition that Theresa would retract her statements and “confess” to not having been kidnapped. 

Streamlined operation 

While he didn’t work his magic this time around (as far as I know), attorney Saad el Adi and others have a whole operation ready to go, a streamlined operation, if you will. 

Such “involved citizens” have a whole network of evildoers who each take part in an increasingly McDonald’s-like assembly-line of skullduggerous deeds. 

It all starts with the shill.   For those of you unfamiliar with those old-time carnivals with “the shell game” and other games of “chance,” may I tell you that a “shill” is the person who goes and plays a round or two, then “wins,” thereby making the audience think the game is either fair or simple to win.

What the audience doesn’t know, however, is that this person is in cahoots with the person behind the counter, and his “wins” are orchestrated.   So in this case, the “shill” is either a seemingly innocuous Muslim girl who befriends “the target,” or a Muslim guy who sets about to make the target fall in love with him. The shill will then gain the trust of the target, with the express purpose of getting them alone, whether in their own town or on a trip. 

Then there’s the Pick-Up Artist, whose specialty is picking up the target from wherever the Shill has left them, and taking them to the place where the trouble really starts.  

Middle-aged women are often employed in this manner, since they’re often matronly and soft, or smartly-dressed and somewhat iconic to a young peasant girl. 

Finally, come the Tormenters, who may be the ones to drag a kicking and screaming young girl to her temporary prison, or the ones to bonk her over the head and drug her up so that she doesn’t know what’s going on.  

There are various and sundry other people involved in these operations, either by design, like, “Ok, you show up here and do this,” or by default, as in “What? You did what? Oh.. well, I didn’t see anything, anyway.”

This category may also include officials or State Security people who may “turn a blind eye” to the atrocities that go on in front of them.   Getting to smack the random girl who’s just appeared in front of him is merely a bonus to these charming fellows.   

Why the Saiid? 

It must be said that this kidnapping operation does more frequently occur in Upper Egypt and/or “the smaller villages,” rather than the more cosmopolitan cities of Cairo, Alexandria, or Port Saiid. This could be for several reasons, including: 

  • The rather anti-Copt atmosphere, which may lead to more instances of wanting to “get” Copts.
  • The fact that Saiidi girls are said to be among the prettiest in
    Egypt.
     
  • The fact that Saiidi families are said to be—and empirically are—the strictest in
    Egypt, perhaps causing the daughters to rebel, or to want to rebel.
     
  • The fact that Saiidi girls, by virtue of their being so sheltered, may also be more innocent (and trusting) than the average Egyptian girl, thus opening them up to more schemes, scams, and all manner of plans.

Why It Works 

Very simply put, this ridiculous game has a remarkably high success rate because the Muslims involved are clever enough to see what it is that their target is lacking; for example, a sheltered girl with a tortured or romantic soul may be seeking understanding, a few nice words or some physical affection. 

The poor student at the top of his class (and yes, there are guys who get swindled into converting) may be in dire need of money, which the generous Muslims provide.

And a teen who feels unreal—or who feels he’s “been there, done that”—may embrace the opportunity to try some white powder or a special cigarette that will make him forget, or heighten his senses. 

That’s not to say that these quasi-conversions don’t sometimes happen for a noble cause, like being able to pay the bills, or being able to obtain a medicine for one’s ill child; in any case, though, I would consider these conversions either false, coerced, or forced. 

But the kidnapping or seduction of these sometimes-half-willing parties isn’t the end of the matter, and life may get even more difficult after the part that one might consider “the worst part” is over. 

Assuming that a girl didn’t willfully run away in the name of “true love,” or tyrannical parents, there is something that eclipses the horror of being held down by the shoulders, bruised in unimaginable and heretofore-unthought-of places, and savagely invaded in a searing and bloody mockery of what should be a joyful and sacred initiation into womanhood; the horror of being a non-virgin in a region of the world that measures family honor by a little piece of skin that may be situated within a girl, but which apparently belongs to everyone sharing her last name. 

But some girls did actually choose to run away, believing that they and their beloved would live out their days together, happy and unfettered… despite their true love’s status of “Muslim.” 

For many of these girls, the worst thing imaginable has nothing to do with the sweet words and shy, soft kisses turning into hard, open-handed slaps across the face, delivered by a wild-eyed rictus of someone they once thought they loved.  

Rather, a worse horror shows itself when the hubbub dies down, and the girl imagines that she’s overcome this sort of ordeal, and is finally able to carry on with her life; she may get a degree, and she might even fall in love with a nice Christian guy.  

It’s then, however, that she realizes that 1- she can’t ever tell him what happened to her (and expect to keep him), and 2- even if he forgives her for being a non-virgin, he’ll have a hard time blocking out the image of her being taken by a Muslim.  

“Couldn’t she have fought harder?” he may ask.  

“Maybe she was partially willing, or actually liked what was being done to her,” he might muse. 

Egyptian men, it must be noted, aren’t known for being forgiving and level-headed when it comes to their property. I mean, their women.  And, on the off-chance that he could find it in his heart to forgive her, then he’s either a saint, or has a few “dirty little secrets” of his own, meaning he’s not as pure as he’d like his future wife to be. 

How awful it must seem to be an Egyptian woman in the world of stern and double-standard-issuing men, but that’s the way it is, and discussing, deconstructing, and dissecting the reasons “why” and thinking up “how to change it all” is a whole other article. 

So what’s the answer, then?   How can we prevent other cases of kidnapping in the future? After all, thank God that Theresa got loose and provided this eyewitness account, but the truth is that escaping from such a scenario is a bit of a rarity.  

In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it happening before, although another girl who was kidnapped earlier in the year—with an alarmingly similar name, actually—was able to phone her aunt from within her captors’ apartment, and let her relatives know that she had been taken and had not converted.

(Read more about Theresa Ghattass Kamal at http://mychristianblood.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/02/27/egypt-christian-girl-kidnapped-by-muslim-militant-contacts-f.html#more ) 

And so, until things are better for every Egyptian, until every Muslim is pro-Copt and unequivocally stands with us against the horrible crimes of kidnapping and forced conversions, all I can really recommend is that we share these stories with the international media, make a big ruckus about them, and educate our precious Egyptian girls about the manners, methods, and models that the Muslims involved in these kidnappings commonly use.

Sara Ghorab