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Former Muslim says kidnappers receive money for every Coptic Christian girl they bring in

(Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)Women pass by the Coptic church that was bombed on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt, April 10, 2017.

A former Muslim, who was once part of a network of kidnappers who targeted Coptic Christian girls, has claimed that Islamic extremist organizations paid them "large amounts of money" for every girl they bring in.

In an interview with World Watch Monitor, an Egyptian man who identified himself only as "G" detailed the strategies used by the network to kidnap Coptic girls.

He explained that a group of kidnappers would meet in a mosque to discuss potential victims and keep a close eye on houses of Christians and monitor their movement. The group would then come up with a plan on how to abduct Coptic girls.

The strategies used by the kidnappers are often subtle. "A Muslim boy tells a Christian girl he loves her and wants to convert to Christianity for her," he explained. "They start a romantic relationship until one day they decide to 'escape' together. What the girls don't know is that they are actually being kidnapped. Most of the time they will not marry their kidnapper, but someone else," he continued.

The man noted that the kidnappers received money from Islamic organizations for bringing in the girls, and claimed that some police officers have also been involved in the operations.

"In some cases, police provide the kidnappers with drugs they seize. The drugs are then given to the girls to weaken their resistance as they put them under pressure. I even know of cases in which police offered helped to beat up the girls to make them recite the Islamic creed," G narrated.

He further noted that the value of the reward increases if the girl is from a well-known family or is a daughter of a priest.

G said that he knew of a Salafist group that rented apartments in different parts of Egypt to hide the kidnapped girls. In these apartments, the girls are threatened to convert to Islam and once they reach the legal age, the kidnappers arrange for an Islamic representative to make the conversion official.

He also noted that the kidnappers are rarely brought to justice, and the authorities often do not report the crime as a kidnapping. The police would say that the girl "went missing" so that they could cover up the crimes of the abductors they deem to be their "Muslim brothers," G said.

In June, a 16-year-old girl named Marilyn was abducted using the "love tactic." An Egyptian researcher claimed that the girl was seduced by a boy named Taha, a recruit of a Salafi organization. The family priest, Fr. Boutros Khalaf, said they heard that the boy took her to a farm where he works.

The day before Marilyn was abducted, a 15-year-old girl named Neveen Adly Beshai Sawiris was forced into a vehicle by two men while she was walking along a street in Cairo. The 38-year-old kidnapping suspect later confessed that he forged her papers to show that she was over 18 and married her.

Last year, 18-year-old Mary Wahib was taken from her home at gunpoint by four masked men, and later appeared in a Facebook video professing Islam.

G said that many kidnappers are in it for the money, but the main goal of the network is to strengthen Islam and weaken Christianity.

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