By Samuel Tadros –
There is a tendency to describe it as similar to previous attacks, as part of the pattern we have seen for years now. It isn’t.
The story begins with a Christian woman who leaves her husband, “marries a Muslim man” and wants to return to live in her village. Her triumphant return is celebrated by Muslims and in the process they attack Copts’ homes.
Some have presented this as a religious freedom issue. Woman has the right to convert and marry whom she pleases. Others have even used it as a way to attack Coptic divorce laws. This is all nonsense.
The woman did not get a legal divorce. She simply left her husband and “married” this guy. Now this is Egypt, imagine for a second if the woman was Muslim and simply left her husband and married another guy. Wouldn’t the police have arrested her for the crime of having two husbands?
In fact, as we have seen in numerous similar cases before, both her and her second husband would have been arrested and tried. The only reason she hasn’t is because she is a Christian who left Christianity.
Some have used this story to dismiss claims of Christian girls being kidnapped and forced to convert. While most of these cases have indeed been simply a woman falling in love with a guy from another religion, not all of them are.
There is a long list of cases of two problematic types: 1. Underage Christian girls disappearing and then found married to Muslims. 2. Cases where there is a clear network supporting and orchestrating these disappearances. That network was made up of Salafis and led by the circle around Sheikh Rifai Sorour,. It was led by his son-in-law Khaled Harbi and his disciple Hossam Abu El Bukhari.
But the most important missed angle in this is the state role. While in previous incidents the state was blamed for being absent or for refusing to bring perpetrators to justice, this case is different: The State is the main actor here.
The Egyptian police force organized the whole triumphant return, even sending armored vehicles for the procession. A police officer fired shots in the air to celebrate the conversion and return. This is not standing idly, this is active participation and leadership.
Of course these processions of converts to Islam were very common in Egypt’s pre-modern history. The fact that they are being conducted tells us a lot about the changes, or lack thereof in the country.
The mentality of them, shared by the common man, and the police officers present is simple. Islam is triumphant and Copts should be subjugated to humiliation (we took one of their women).