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The PJ Tatler

Raymond Ibrahim


May 2, 2013 - 3:30 pm

A 10-year-old Christian boy who served as a deacon (or altar boy) at the Coptic church of St. Abdul Masih (Servant of Christ) in Minya, Egypt, was kidnapped earlier this week. The boy, Sameh George, was abducted by “unknown persons” while on his way to church to participate in Holy Pascha prayers leading up to Orthodox Easter. His parents and family report that it was his custom to go to church and worship in the evening, but when he didn’t return, and they began to panic, they received an anonymous phone call from the kidnappers, informing them that they had the Christian child in their possession, and will execute him unless they receive 250,000 Egyptian pounds in ransom money.

Such incidents are on the increase. Less than a month earlier, another Coptic Christian boy, 12-year-old Abanoub Ashraf, was also kidnapped right in front of his church, St. Paul in Shubra al-Khayma district. His abductors, four men, put a knife to his throat, dragged him to their car, opened fire on the church, and then sped away. Later they called the boy’s family demanding an exorbitant amount of money to ransom the boy’s life.

As many Coptic activists are pointing out, while the immediate motive behind these kidnappings is money, another obvious purpose is to frighten Christian families from sending their children to church. Otherwise, why were both boys kidnapped from right in front of their respective churches? Considering that some Egyptian Islamic clerics consider attending church as worse than attending bars and brothels, the kidnappers likely deem this the “altruistic” side of their greed and hate.

Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center; Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum; and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 2013. Ibrahim’s dual-background -- born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East -- has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.

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You're almost there, but I think you're partially missing the point. While discouraging people from going to church might be a part of the motive for what's occurring, wouldn't this just encourage everyone to go together? Kidnapping small boys is probably done because they're the most vulnerable and easy to kidnap (females being cloistered, even if they're Christian, because that's the way Muslim society is structured). I seriously doubt *every* Muslim around is in favor of this sort of thing. Kidnapping an infidel on his way to his infidel church, though, that probably gives the kidnappers some cover. "Yes, we kidnapped him, but he's an infidel and he was going to his infidel church, defying Allah, so we had to do it!"
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