“If you can hear me, Ranya, know that we will never abandon you until we see you,” – Ranya’s brother
*Scroll down to see the video of Ranya’s forced Islamic conversion
A Coptic Christian woman, Ranya Abd al-Masih (“servant of Christ”), 39, disappeared in Egypt on April 22, 2020, only to resurface days later in a recorded video. The beloved mother was forced to dress in a black niqab in the video, claim she converted to Islam, and express she did not want any contact with her husband, three children, or family members anymore.
The kidnapping of Coptic women and girls has been an ongoing crisis in Egypt. Hundreds of victims, including those disappeared, lured, kidnapped, blackmailed, have been reported. Some completely disappear, and others reappear only after claiming to have converted to Islam. At least four other other Coptic women in Egypt disappeared in the same month Ranya “converted.”
The process of kidnapping, forcibly converting and marrying Coptic women to Muslims is widely known to be organized and financed by Islamic groups “who operate under the implicit support of state organs, including various security services.” Uncounted numbers of complaints, protests and pleadings made over the years have fallen and continue to fall on the deaf ears of government.
Ranya was a high school teacher in a city north of Cairo, and has three daughters, a husband and large family she loves dearly. Her youngest daughter is just nine years-old.
A few days after her family alerted Egyptian state security, of her disappearance, a disturbing video of the devout Christian mother covered in oppressive sharia garb and pledging her allegiance to Islam emerged. Ranya claims she has been following Islam for nine years and declared, “thanks to Allah I have found the correct path”
However, up until Ranya’s disappearance she was regularly attending church, visiting and praying in monasteries—even fasting 55 days in the lead-up to Easter, reported her family. “Her Facebook and other social media accounts are also saturated with Christian images and messages.”
As she struggled in between tears, Ranya explains that she was not kidnapped but instead disappeared and took her belongings on her own accord:
I repeat again, no one has kidnapped me and no one is threatening me because I have stolen gold, I took my own belongings from home my gold, which is my right, what I tired and worked for, I left home on my own free will.
Her family explains that Ranya’s statement is being forced “likely at gunpoint and/or even under the effects of drugs.” Furthermore, they reported, “she did not take her jewelry and belongings on the day she disappeared; moreover, it is clear in the video that she is surrounded by and getting cues from others.”
Ranya’s heartbroken brother stated, “We are sure that Ranya, our beloved sister, whom we know so well, is not the one we saw on the video; that is a woman who is being threatened and coerced”
RAIR Foundation USA translated Ranya’s disturbing video below:
On May 1, the Coptic Orthodox Christian Church in al-Minofiya has joined the fight by issuing a statement asking President Sisi to intervene and prompt state security “to return our daughter Ranya Abd al-Masih, who suddenly disappeared from her home under unknown circumstances, and whose three young daughters are heartbroken at her absence, as is her husband and her entire family.”
Coptic Christian author and world renowned Islamic expert, Raymond Ibrahim, detailed Ranya’s family and communities response to the newly released video in an article at Coptic Solidarity:
Remon, her brother, insists that this seems to be an elaborate scheme perpetrated by the “Muslim Brotherhood”—the politically correct way of indicating any “Muslim radical” in Egypt, considering the government’s open conflict with the Brotherhood. In reality, and based on ample precedent, if any group is responsible, it is likely the Salafists, with implicit help from security organs.
Remon himself made this clear by lambasting state security, which, to date, has been unresponsive to the family’s pleas, citing the video as “proof” of no wrongdoing. “I am calling on President Sisi and every other official,” he said; “We need to see and speak with her; but nobody cares and nobody wants to help. Is she even alive?”
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.
“We want to take care of our women and children,” Remon continued. “They will no longer be able to leave the house!” Ranya’s brother lamented, saying this incident is establishing a bad precedent: “Whoever steps out can be kidnapped and no one will ever be able to reach them…. What will we do about our Coptic mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters? We are in an era when such things should not happen. ”
“If you can hear me, Ranya, know that we will never abandon you until we see you,” her brother concluded: “Because you are a victim of a terror.”
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Video transcript: many thank to Ibn Al-Malek for the translation:
Sister Ranya Abdel-Messih [servant of the Messiah] Halim from El-Menoufiah District declares her Islam and responds to those who claim she is kidnapped, and asks assistance from the Egyptian Authorities.
Ranya Abdel-Messih Halim speaking:
I am Ranya Abdel-Messih Halim a teacher in El-Iraqia.
No one kidnapped me or kidnapped me for my gold [jewelry] I left home of my own free will and and I am a Muslima
I converted to Islam nine years ago and thanks to Allah I have found the correct path. And uh…uh… I want to tell my husband who is looking for me, “I no longer belong to you, and don’t ruin my image in front of my daughters because no one forced me to leave and if I want to return I will.
I left freely and if I want to return, I can do so freely and it is “haram” [not lawful in front of Allah] what you’re doing to me, to my friends and family and to the people who stood by me.”
And anyone who stood by me, may Allah reward and bless them.
And haram all this, i can’t continue like this … the Authorities searching the streets fro me.
I don’t know what to do now. I ask for the protection of the Authorities. I ask the protection of the Authorities to protect me from them … from themselves.
I am a Muslima and I don’t’ want to go back to Christianity
Haram all that you’re doing. I cant stand this. Haram. I am fasting [Ramadan]. This is the first year I try fasting in my life. Haram what you’re doing to me I repeat again, no one has kidnapped me and no one is threatening me because I have stolen gold [jewelry].
I took my own belongings from home …my gold, which is my right, what I tired and worked for I left home of my own free will. No one had threatened or forced me No one helped me. I left freely on my own This is not new to him [husband] ,or the Church, or my family. All of them, for a while now, have seen how I have changed the way I dress and look
Praise be to Allah for the grace of Islam which is enough for me … [sigh]… I confess that there is no god but Allah, and confess that Mohammad is his prophet.