Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mercy and tolerance in Egypt

I recently asked several questions of a reader regarding whether or not non-Muslims have equality of rights under the Religion of Mercy in Egypt:
-Egypt is good for non-Muslims, right?

-They can build their religious buildings as freely as any Muslim can build a mosque, right?

-They can practice their faith in public without restriction just as any Muslim can practice, right?

-They are able to share their religious faith as freely as any Muslim can speak of Allah, right?
My questions reflect the centuries-old reality for infidels living under the rule of Islam. Dhimma is the Allah-mandated humiliation and oppression of those non-Muslims who prefer life under Islam over conversion or death. It has been practiced with varying degrees of severity over the last one and one-half millennia.

Mohamed responded:
...the answer is YES...
This response does not fit the facts of events in Egypt. Consider the following (taken from here):
The Supreme Guide Of the Muslim Brotherhood...dedicated to the adoption of the Shari’a law in Egypt...are known to commit acts of violence against Christians. The leader of this group, Mustafa Mashhour, was quoted in the April 3, 1997 issue of Al-Ahram as saying that Copts would not be allowed to serve in the military under Sharia law which is a standard principle of Islamic law.

Al-Gamaa Islamiya (Islamic Group) of Egypt's largest fundamentalist groups...dedicated to turning Egypt into an Islamic to bring this about by destabilizing the government through attacks on Christians....

Jihad (Holy War/Holy Struggle) [is a]nother...of Egypt's larger fundamentalist groups...dedicated to turning Egypt into an Islamic state. They seek to bring this about by destabilizing the government through attacks on Christians....

Islam was declared the state religion in 1980.

An official decree of the Ottoman Empire still in force is a 1856 law requiring non-Muslims to obtain a presidential decree to repair, remodel, or build a place of worship.

A 1934 Minister of Interior Decree added ten conditions to the issuing of this decree. They include not allowing a church to be built within 100 meters of a mosque, requiring the permission of any utility official when the construction is near that utility, and requiring that none of the Muslim neighbors object to the buildings construction...obtaining permission often takes years. During this delay, it is not uncommon for a mosque to be built near the site, causing the requested construction to be in violation of the above listed condition. This law was recently changed so those governors could issue a decree for repairs. Many see this as a further hindrance as lower officials are more easily influenced by extremist elements.

All Egyptian citizens are required to have listed on their identity card whether they are Christian or Muslim. This card must be presented whenever a person applies for employment. There are cases of people who are trying to change their listed religion from Muslim to Christian being arrested for falsifying documents. Persons arrested on these charges have been interrogated and physically abused in an attempt to obtain information on other converts and their activities.

The government-owned television stations broadcast only 2 hours of Christian programming a year on Easter. Most of the tax-supported programming is pro-Islamic, if not anti-Christian.

While proselytizing is not illegal, some Muslim converts to Christianity have been charged with a provision of the Penal code that prohibits the use of religion to "ignite heavenly strife, degrade any of the heavenly religions or harm national unity or social peace."

Children with Muslim names are enrolled in Islamic classes regardless of their parent's wishes. This presents a problem because parents are hesitant to give their children traditionally Coptic names as it increases the risk they will be discriminated against. As a result, Coptic parents try to give their children a name that is used by both religious communities.

The portion of history when the Coptic Christians were the majority (the first six centuries AD) is not taught in Egyptian public schools.

12/4/03 Egypt Barnabas Fund. Yesterday, 3 December, police decided to release the last of the 22 converts and their supporters who were arrested between 21 and 24 October in Alexandria. Up until then it seemed that police were determined to make an example of Christian convert from Islam, Mariam Girgis Makar. They even employed the services of a scholar from the Al-Azhar Islamic University in Cairo to help them bring charges concerning crimes against Islam. Mariam, who was seriously abused whilst in custody, was bailed for 1000 Egyptian pounds (£94 / $162)...A Christian who converts to Islam in Egypt can receive new ID papers with a new Muslim name within 24 hours. However there is no reciprocal arrangement for a Muslim who converts to Christianity. There are a myriad of factors making it virtually impossible for converts to follow their faith freely and safely whilst they retain an official Muslim name. Thus many converts feel compelled to apply for official papers using an assumed Christian name. in Egypt have recently issued a declaration calling upon the government to make three changes. Firstly they would like Muslims to be able to change their names to Christian ones, to make conversion from Islam less dangerous. Secondly they would like just treatment for Christians who once converted to Islam, but then chose toreconvert to Christianity....

12/02/03 Egypt (Barnabas Fund) The Christian husband of a Muslim convert to Christianity has been apprehended trying to leave Egypt. He was then held in the custody of a notoriously cruel and vindictive security official. On Friday 28 November Egyptian Christian Bolis Rezek-Allah was arrested trying to leave the country. This was a desperate attempt to escape the mounting persecution he is suffering at the hands of the Egyptian authorities because of his marriage to Enas Badawi, a Christian converted from a Muslim background...He was put in the custody of Hussein Gohar, a security officer who is notoriously vindictive towards converts from Islam and those close to them. Gohar has threatened Rezek-Allah that he will find his wife Enas (who is still being sought by police) even if she has gone abroad, and that once he has done so he will kill Enas in front of her husband. Rezek-Allah was released but police say they will continue to block him from leaving the country despite the fact that he has obtained the correct documentation to leave for Canada. Bolis Rezek-Allah was originally singled out by police persecution in the summer of 2003, when he was arrested on the charge of marrying a Muslim. In accordance with shari’a (Islamic law), it is illegal in Egypt for a Christian man to marry a Muslim woman. Enas Badawi had actually converted from Islam to Christianity before the marriage, but since the Egyptian authorities do not recognise conversions to Christianity, she was still a Muslim in the eyes of the law. Rezek-Allah was initially held in prison for three months, during which time he was also accused of helping Muslims convert to Christianity....

12/02/03 Egypt (Compass) -- Two Egyptian Coptic Christians jailed by Saudi authorities have been released 17 days after their arrest for establishing an expatriate house church....

11/29/03 Egypt (Compass) -- Five weeks after her arrest tipped off a major crackdown against Egyptian converts to Christianity, Miriam Girguis Makar was sent back to El-Kanater Women’s Prison outside Cairo for another 15 days. Makar, 30, was arrested on October 20 at her home in Alexandria in front of her two teenage daughters. Her husband was also detained, beaten and interrogated, but he was released on November 1. Makar has been accused of falsifying Christian identity papers for herself and other former Muslims. When brought before the state prosecutor on November 20, she was remanded back to jail until December 5. At least 22 other Christians, some converts from Islam and others of Coptic descent, were detained and interrogated in the harsh sweep following Makar’s arrest. One convert died while in police custody, and the others face legal prosecution. Under Egyptian law, Muslims are not allowed to change their religious identities to any other faith, although Christians are free to convert officially to Islam.

11/28/03 Egypt (Barnabas & Assist) Police in Cairo released on bail four more of the 22 Alexandrian Christians who were arrested late October after they abandoned the Muslim religion and accepted Jesus Christ....the police "are seeking advice about bringing charges concerning crimes against Islam which they could prosecute her for...Earlier human rights reports suggested the Christians had been subjected to torture and intimidation...The pressure on Christians in Egypt comes at a time when Muslim violence is spreading throughout the middle east, human rights groups say..."In Egypt, the birthplace of modern Islamism, the groups that assassinated President Sadat...have always regarded the indigenous Christian community, the Copts, as enemies of Islam because of their demands for equal treatment..[..]" The call for equal treatment is "seen as a rejection of what Islamists consider to be their God-ordained subordinate status in the Islamic order. This subordinate dhimmi status is characterized by humiliation and subjugation, and includes limitations on public expression of Christianity,"...It also includes a total ban on Christian mission amongst Muslims. Indigenous Christians are also accused of anti-Muslim alliances with what Islamic militants call "the imperialist West", including the United States.

11/28/03 Egypt (ICC) -- In Egypt, it has recently become fashionable for Copts (a persecuted/minority orthodox Christian sect) to put the Christian fish symbol on bumper stickers for their cars. Muslims have responded by creating shark bumper stickers. The stickers are sold in Christian book stores. The Muslim stickers are sold in Muslim bookstores and often have the phrase "no god but allah" printed within the shark.

Egypt, October 29 (Compass) -- In a harsh crackdown over the past 10 days, Egypt’s state security police have arrested and tortured a Christian couple from Muslim background, along with 11 other Egyptian citizens accused of forging Christian identity papers for former Muslims. At least 10 more Christians have since been detained and subjected to torture in the sweep, said to be headed by two security police officers known for illegal and cruel tactics against Christian converts.

Egypt, October 27 (Compass) -- An Egyptian Coptic Christian teenager kidnapped a month ago by Muslims who claim she’s converted to Islam is being refused direct access to her Christian family. According to Nagy Edwar Nagy, his sister disappeared on September 27, the day after she had celebrated her 19th birthday at their family home. Ingy Nagy Edwar, is reportedly being held against her will by a Muslim couple in the Haram district of Giza governate, adjacent to Cairo. State security police officials temporarily detained her father and other male relatives a few days after her disappearance, showing them an alleged declaration of conversion to Islam signed by the girl....Ingy’s family believes the girl is being given drugs which affect her moods...“She told me by phone she wants to commit suicide,” Nagy told Compass last week. “She is going through a hard, hard time.”

Cairo, Egypt (ANS & Banabas Fund) ...Some 22 Christians, including many secret converts from Islam to Christianity, have been arrested by Egyptian police and are "being beaten, interrogated and tortured," a major Christian rights group said Friday, Oct. 24. The...abuses began when 2 Christians were taken from Alexandria to police stations in the capital Cairo as part of a fresh "dramatic" anti-Christian crackdown that began Tuesday, Oct. 21. Thursday Oct. 23 that number rose to 22 as other "converts and Christians who have tried to assist them were rounded up and arrested in dramatic sweeps by police," the Barnabus Fund added in a ASSIST News Service (ANS). "Local Christians fear the arrests will continue and many other converts from Islam, who have been living quietly as Christians may now be arrested in the next few days," said the Barnab[a]s Fund....Officially the 22 arrested Christians being charged "with falsifying ID papers," apparently because they changed their Muslim names into Christian names, the Barnabus Fund reported. "Whilst Egypt has no law against apostasy from Islam, in practice converts are actively punished by the police in this 90% Muslim country. (They) often face imprisonment, beatings and torture on various pretexts in order to try to force them to return to Islam." A Christian who converts to Islam in Egypt can receive ID papers with a new adopted Muslim name within 24 hours, but "it is impossible for a Muslim who converts to Christianity to change their name to a Christian one at all," said the Barnabus Fund. "Thus they will always be regarded as Muslims in the eyes of the law."

...The initial arrest of the first Christians, Yusuf and Mariam, came about as a result of information obtained by police through the torture and interrogation of a Christian who revealed that the married couple were converts from Islam, the organization said. They allegedly were involved in leading other Muslims to convert to Christianity. "An investigation was opened by police in the Al-Muski quarter of Cairo and the couple was eventually arrested in Alexandria, "beaten, abused, tortured and taken by police to a station in Al Muski," in the capital. Cairo Christians have reportedly brought food for the couple but the police has so far reportedly refused to allow this to be given to them. Local Christians have managed to obtain the services of a team of Christian and Muslim lawyers to defend the accused.

...Human rights workers say that many converts have faced imprisonment, beatings and torture. Some are said to have died in prison, while others have fled Egypt, Africa's second largest country with over 66 million people. "Converts have sometimes been arrested under the country’s emergency legislation which allows for the holding of suspects without charge or trial for indefinite periods....

(11/12/2003) (Egyptian) ...On Friday, November 7, 2003, numerous Christian individuals and their properties were attacked following a disagreement with their Muslim neighbors over plans for a church. The ensuing conflict led to the injury and hospitalization of numerous Copts (Egyptian Christians) and the destruction and burning of several Coptic homes. The disagreement appears to have developed over plans to convert a small Christian library into a church...a large Muslim crowd converged and commenced destruction of Coptic property. The library itself was attacked and its foundation compromised. As the violence increased, four Coptic homes were burned, eight other homes burglarized, Coptic cropland uprooted, and seven Coptic businesses attacked and looted. In the ensuing violence, Coptic men and women were violently assaulted, resulting in the injury of eleven Christians, a number of whom were subsequently hospitalized. Christians reportedly called police officials fifteen minutes following the commencement of the assault. Police officials, only a 30-minute trip away, arrived several hours later, after much destruction had been wreaked upon the Christian community. While some reports have issued statements regarding the arrest of a few individuals, the matter has characteristically received little attention from local and national authorities. Police intervention in matters relating to the Copts has been repeatedly inadequate, often failing to contain the violence targeted towards the community. Commenting on the situation, Michael Meunier, President of the U.S. Copts Association, remarked “This incident typifies the discriminatory sentiment prevalent among factions of the Egyptian populace and the characteristically inadequate intervention of the country’s police officials in matters threatening Copts and their property.”

May 2003 - A 17-year-old Christian girl was returned to her family after an Egyptian official intervened in her case. In April, Niveen Malak Kamel was kidnapped by a Muslim neighbor in Klosna village in the Samlout district of El Minia. At first police refused to help, prompting Niveen's sister to go on a hunger strike. However, after the Under Secretary of State for the Interior's intervention, Niveen was reunited with her family. (CSW/ANS)

April 5, 2003 - The Christian-run Patmos Center, a center for physically and mentally handicapped children, was again targeted by Egyptian troops who came in armored vehicles with tear gas and a bulldozer....Workers parked cars in front of the vehicles and laid down in their path to prevent destruction to the center. Patmos Center leaders believe they are being targeted in retaliation for the US war in Iraq. (ANS/Barnabas Fund)

February 2003 - A female Christian convert and her husband were arrested at the airport as they tried to leave the country. Naglaa Hassan Ibrahim became a Christian in 1996 and later married Malak Gawargios, a Christian. According to authorities they are being imprisoned because of a forged passport and ID card. Naglaa's passport identifies her a Christian while the ID could not be changed and still lists her as a Muslim. Under Egyptian law Christian men may not marry Muslim women. Thus, Naglaa is being pressured to return to Islam and raise her two children as Muslims. (Barnabas Fund/ANS)

February 27, 2003 - The re-trial of 96 suspects charged with murder and other atrocities stemming from rioting in El-Kosheh in January 2000 mirrored an earlier verdict in which all but four people were acquitted. One of those found guilty had his sentence increased from 10 to 15 years for killing a Muslim (the only one who died in the clashes). Three others were found guilty of setting a truck on fire. Capturing the sentiments of the entire Christian community, Coptic Bishop Wissa stated: "If those accused are really innocent, where are the real killers? The 21 Christians who were so brutally murdered in January 2000 did not kill themselves." (ANS/CSW)

October 2002 - Coptic Christians reported that they continued to have problems receiving permission to build or repair churches. Some have been waiting since the late 1970s for such permission to be granted. (American Coptic Association)

May 7, 2002 - Hisham Samir Abdel Latif Ibrahim, a Muslim background believer, was arrested in Cairo for falsifying his identity documents and "reviling Islam." He reportedly changed his religious affiliation from Muslim to Christian by obtaining a new birth certificate under a Christian name. Ibrahim was interrogated for 52 days by the State Security Investigation. (Compass)

April 8, 2002 - Islamic fundamentalists kidnapped a 14-year-old Coptic Christian girl because her family was sheltering a Muslim convert. She was later rescued but continued to be threatened until the family was forced to send her abroad. Other members of the family have been interrogated by the police and have been frequently harassed by threatening phone calls. The family plans to flee the country when possible. (Compass)

February 19, 2002 - A Christian center 30 kilometers east of Cairo was partially razed by the Egyptian army and several people were beaten, including a teacher whose arm was broken. The Patmos Centre, which serves mentally and handicapped children and orphans, is a legally registered organization that has been functioning for the last 14 years. The Center was also attacked in 1996, 1997 and 2001. (Barnabas Fund)

February 11, 2002 - Father Luka Ibrahim Sargious was arrested on the charge of firing a hunting rifle during the incident at Bani Wellmes on February 10, 2002....However, none of the Muslim attackers were arrested. (US Copts Association)

February 10, 2002 - A newly built church was attacked by armed Muslims who were angered by the ringing of the church bells. The Church of the Virgin Mary in Bani Wellmes, El-Minia, as well as the 35 homes, were burned during the incident. Several people were also injured as fighting broke out between the Muslim attackers and Christians trying to defend the church. (US Copts Association)

December 16, 2001 - The mayor of Al-Ubor City ordered a newly built church to be destroyed by the police force. The mayor claimed the church had been illegally constructed even though the church had official permission to build. No investigation of the mayor was ever carried out. (US Copts Association)

May 21, 2001 – Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a champion of the rights of Coptic Christians, was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Dr. Ibrahim, a 61-year-old Muslim, was charged with "tarnishing Egypt’s image, accepting foreign money without government approval and embezzling funds." The charges are all related to a video produced by the Ibn Khaldoun Center in Cairo. The video investigated last October’s parliamentary elections. However, Dr. Ibrahim believes his sentencing was a result of his work on behalf of Coptic Christians.

April 2001 – After 5 years a Christian widow continues to battle for custody of her children. The children of Fayza Abd El-Shaheed Tawfiq are considered Muslims because their father had converted to Islam for a period between 1990 and 1995. In 1995 Emad Ayad Bishay returned to the Christian faith and died shortly thereafter. However, because his official identity card listed him as Muslim, his children are also considered Muslims and as such, under law, should be put in the custody of Muslim guardians.

February 6, 2001 – 57 Muslims and 32 Christians stood trial on charges ranging from murder to looting during the violence in El-Kosheh in early January of last year. Twenty-one Christians and one Muslim were killed in El-Kosheh after a dispute between Muslims and Christians escalated. Of thirty-eight Muslims being tried for murder, only four of them received a sentence. The harshest sentence, 10 years imprisonment, was handed down to Mayez Amin Abdel Rahim for "accidental" homicide and possessing an illegal weapon. Three other Muslims were sentenced to less than 3 years each for setting a tractor-trailer on fire. The judge justified the lack of convictions by saying there was not sufficient evidence and it was unclear which suspects had committed which crimes. Instead he laid the responsibility for the violence on three Coptic priests, Fr. Gabriel, Fr. Bessada and Fr. Isaac, for failing to break up the original quarrel. Coptic Christians are outraged by the court’s decision and say this verdict paves the way for more violence against Copts.

July 26, 2000 – Coptic Christian Fakhri Ayyad Mus’ad was shot to death when local Muslims discovered he was building a church in a nearby field. Three other men were also injured.

June 7, 2000 – State Security Intelligence officers arrested Christian Aziz Tawfik Rezkalah on the charge of preaching the gospel to a Muslim. This was Mr. Rezkalah’s fourth arrest in four years. During each arrest Mr. Rezkalah was stripped naked and taken to interrogation where he was beaten and tortured with electric shock. Mr. Rezkalah is the head of a Coptic Orthodox organization which teaches Coptic Christians about their faith.

April 13, 2000 – About 400 Coptic Christians in Ezbet el Akbat broke into their church, which had been closed by authorities since 1989. The group refused to leave despite police demands and the pleas of their local bishop. The Christians did not leave the church until the next day when they were assured permission to build a new church in the village. Since the closure of their church they had been forced to conduct all religious ceremonies in the street.

March 2000 – The family of a Coptic Christian pharmacist who converted to Islam have questioned the legality of Dr. Hanna Kamal Hanna Morgan’s religious conversion, saying that he was mentally ill and thus was not competent to make such a decision. When a Coptic priest tried to persuade Morgan not to leave the church, he reportedly said "I can’t come back to Christianity or they will burn my pharmacy and me." Since Mr. Morgan is now officially Muslim according to government records, his two daughters are also considered Muslim and thus could be taken from their Christian mother. This is the third case of suspicious religious conversion in El-Fayoum.

February 28, 2000 – Egyptian security forces from the State Security Intelligence (SSI) raided a church service at the St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Al Tor, southern Sinai. The worshippers were forced outside and the doors were welded shut. The security forces also damaged the marble Sacrament table and stole the Holy Altar vessels. Several Christians sent telegraphs to the President, complaining about the incident. They later found out that none of their telegraphs had been sent as the post office officials were forbidden from doing so by the SSI.

January 2-4, 2000 – Around 19 Christians were left dead by the worst sectarian violence to hit Egypt in two decades. The violence resulted from a financial dispute between a Muslim and a Christian shopkeeper in El-Kosheh. The Muslim and his brothers later attacked the Christian’s shop and incited a mob which looted and burned Christian homes, stores, and factories. At least 44 people were injured in addition to those who were killed during the 3 days of violence. Twenty-one people were arrested and charged with looting and arson.

December 13, 1999 – A group of Muslims attacked construction workers who were building a fence at the First Evangelical Church in Assuit. The workers were forced to leave and were threatened with death if they resumed their work.

December 10, 1999 – In the village of Awlad in Sohaag, Upper Egypt, a group of Muslim men attacked the Church of Mare-Guirgess. The armed men fired randomly at the building, which was being renovated. The attack caused parts of the building to collapse and damaged a crane used in construction.

May 9, 1999 - After an investigation by the Egyptian government of the "El-Koshuha Incident," charges of brutality and torture against the four police officers were dropped and the case was officially closed. This was despite the large volume of evidence to the contrary that is said to exist. In addition, each of the four officers were given cash rewards of 1000 Egyptian pounds for their cooperation in the case.

October 11, 1998 - Because of their reporting of the "El-Kosheh Incident"to human rights NGO’s, Bishop Wessa of Baliand and two Coptic priests have been arrested and accused of spreading matters damaging to nation unity and social peace (Article 86 penal code), using religion to incite strife and damaging to nation unity and social peace (Article 98 penal code), attempting to influence the outcome of a court case and investigation (Article 171, 187 penal code), delivering an insult or criticism while carrying out their duties as priests (Article 201 penal code), and presenting false information in an investigation (Article 145 penal code).

August 14, 1998 - Two young Christian men were killed in the village of El-Kosheh, Dar Assalam and Governate of Soha, Egypt. The local Coptic Bishop reported that the consensus of the village was that the killers were three Muslim men who were known to police. The police made no effort to apprehend this individuals but rather rounded up nearly 1,200 Christians, including men, women, and children, during the course of the following week. During their detainment, it is reported that these people suffered verbal abuse and physical abuse that included electrical shock, whippings, beatings, and being hung from their feet for extended periods of time. It is believed much of this activity was aimed at obtaining false confessions to the murders. It was been reported that 11 year-old Romani Boctor was suspended from a spinning ceiling fan for several hours in an attempt to get his father to confess to the murders. It is also reported that a fourteen-month-old baby was beaten in front of her mother to get the mother to confess. A 14 year-old girl was sexually assaulted in an attempt to make her lose her virginity. This was so the police could claim that her father and fiance killed the two men for having a sexual encounter with the girl. All the detained individuals were released within a week. No suspects in the crime have been arrested.

The Egyptian government continues to refuse to intervene on the behalf of parents whose daughters are abducted and forced to convert to Islam and then married to Muslim men. By doing so, the police fail to uphold two Egyptian laws. One prevents the conversion of any individual under the age of 16. The other prohibits the marriage of a young woman between the ages of 16 and 21 without the approval and presence of her guardians. Police rarely take action to enforce these laws in the case of abductions of Christians.

A common act in rural Egypt is for Muslims to extort money from Christian businesses. This practiced is often justified by the Koranic injunction to charge Christians Jizya, a tax levied on non-Muslims. Extremist groups often use this practice to fund their operations.

It is reported that conversions from Christianity to Islam are often coerced. Poor Christians are often offered financial incentives to convert. There have been a series of reports of Christian girls being abducted and forced to convert to Islam. The International Coptic Federation claims it has documented 218 cases of abduction but it is very difficult to determine the degree of coercion used. In some cases, the girl desires to marry a Muslim boy and is willing to convert to do so. The conversion is performed by the girl saying a one-sentence confession. Seduction, rape, bribery, threats, and violence can also be factors in these cases. The government does little to protect its citizens from such abuses.
On the subject of Muslims kidnapping, raping, and "converting" Christians in Egypt, Mohamed wrote:
and what about the last question(They don't have to worry about their daughters being kidnapped and told by the police that they don't have to worry, since now, "...she's in the hands of Islam," right?)

I doubted from I heared about disappearing some christians young women that Muslims were behind it as "There is no compulsion in Islam"as you know,and I watched alot of programs talking about it and in one of them a Christian thinker was saying that he was near some of these events and they weren't kidnapping...
and finally I became sure when I read an article in a famous newspaper talking with Marian and Kristin(the two sisters who disappeared)and they narrated that they loved two Muslims and escaped with them to marry them and finally they became Muslims after marriage and after reading some books about Islam...
Muslims who kidnap, rape, and convert non-Muslim women would never lie, would they? Victims are never, ever coerced or shamed into compliance, are they?

In light of the small sampling above, it is obvious that whether or not in one particular case the women (allegedly) wanted to "disappear," marry, and convert, the practice is widespread and well-documented.

For what reason would anyone try to excuse this fact?