Coptic Solidarity recently released shocking news that 39-year-old Ranya Abd al-Masih, an Egyptian Coptic Christian schoolteacher, wife, and mother, was seen in a video just a few days after her disappearance on April 22. In this video, her entire demeanor had shifted; crying, she claimed that herself and her entire family have converted to Islam which they had been secretly following for almost 10 years.
However, her family believes that Ranya- despite claiming in the video to have disappeared by her own will rather than as a result of abduction- was kidnapped and forced to make the video for “public consumption.” They state that it appears in the video that Ranya is being directed by individuals guiding her performance.
Ranya’s brother, Remon, insists that the whole video is a lie. He states that his family would take no offense in the case that Ranya willingly converted to Islam, but it seems that she was coerced into doing so. Remon believes that Ranya’s kidnappers used threats against her husband’s an children’s safety as a method of forcing Ranya into conversion. In fact, Remon claims that Ranya’s statement that she had been following Islam for 9 years is simply implausible as she had been regularly attending church services and posting Christian messages on her personal social media accounts not long before her disappearance.
According to Coptic Solidarity, “incidentally and needless to say, if the situation was reversed- if a married Muslim woman had disappeared and then reappeared in a video saying she was Christian and not to bother over her- all of Egypt, particularly state security, would be on its feet investigating; and then, if true, both the apostate and her Christian ‘helpers’ would likely be punished.”
It is quite ironic that individuals who willingly and peacefully convert to Christianity are targeted as violators of apostasy laws and often times are detained for their religious beliefs, but kidnappers who abduct individuals and force them to convert their religion are treated with leniency by state actors.