Egypt: Why Are Christian Girls Converting to Islam?


Few things in Islam are as liable to provoke passion and violence as the issue of conversion. The health hazards involved in converting out of Islam—apostatizing—are well known. But even the issue of converting to Islam is fraught with drama. Consider Egypt alone: in recent months, wild rampages, burned churches, and murdered Christians have resulted over a few Christian women converting to Islam.

The most notorious case revolves around Camelia Shehata, the wife of a Coptic priest. Muslims kept circulating rumors that she had converted to Islam, only to be “kidnapped” by the Coptic Church, which was supposedly torturing her into returning to Christianity (a clear case of Muslim projection). Even though Shehata appeared on videos insisting she never converted, and would die a Christian, Muslims still kept rioting—and even filed a lawsuit demanding that her whereabouts be disclosed, which was recently dismissed for lacking evidence by an Egyptian court.

Likewise, there was last May’s Imbaba terror attack—which left 12 Christians dead, hundreds injured, and three churches burned. It, too, was initiated by a rumor (subsequently proven false) that another female Coptic convert to Islam, Abir, was being held and tortured in a church. Then there is the ongoing issue of teenage Coptic girls disappearing and being reported alternatively as kidnapped by Muslims or as willing converts to Islam, depending on who is reporting.

Why this obsession with real or imagined converts to Islam, to the point of chaos and violence? Muslim intellectual Khaled Montaser, in an Arabic op-ed, offers useful insights on Islam’s “inferiority complex” as revealed through the issue of conversion:

We Muslims have an inferiority complex…feeling that our Islamic religion needs constant, practically daily, confirmation by way of Europeans and Americans converting to Islam. What rapturous joy takes us when a European or American announces their [conversion to] Islam—proof that we are in a constant state of fear, alarm, and chronic anticipation for Western validation or American confirmation that our religion is “okay.”

This raises another question: If Islam, as many Muslims insist, is intrinsically appealing to potential converts, why is it always young Coptic girls—as opposed to, say, adult Coptic males—who are always being championed as converts to Islam in Egypt?

The answer is self-evident. Consider Abir, whom Muslims went on a destructive rampage over: she admits she converted to Islam simply to divorce her Christian husband; Muslim authorities say she doesn’t know the first thing about Islam. As for girls converting to Islam, one finds it curious that of all segments of Coptic society, it is their teenage girls who are seeing the “light” of Islam. A more realistic explanation is that dollars are fueling the Islamization of these kids.

This video of a Coptic teenage convert to Islam says it all. She starts off wearing a veil and piously announcing her conversion to Islam, because she found the truth in it; after a few seconds, she strips the veil off to breathe and giggles. The cameraman yells “tell us some more on why you converted,” but she continues to giggle and says “What more do you want me to say? There’s nothing more.”

Not exactly the most convincing display of a sincere convert.

All this is a reminder of something else Montaser wrote on Muslim inferiority complex: that some Muslims embrace events with “a hopeful eye, not an eye for truth or reality,” and that they “are struck with blindness” when it comes to things that deflate their “hopes.”

Thus, even though a few Coptic girls convert to Islam for cynical reasons—namely, temporal and monetary benefits—some Muslims are not seeing it, are “struck with blindness” vis-à-vis this unflattering reality, and instinctively put the best spin on it.

Then again, Islam offers its own cynical explanation. While it may seem incongruous for non-Muslim girls to convert to Islam for its intrinsic appeal—a religion that allows polygamy, treats females as half the worth of men, keeps them under wraps, and says they can be ridden like animals—there is no discrepancy for Islam, which holds that females are deficient in intelligence.

All these thoughts occurred to me as I listened to a recent interview with a former Al-Azhar scholar and head of the Sharia department—an adult Muslim man who converted to Christianity, someone who not only is mature and learned in religion, but who, far from gaining a temporal advantage, has everything to lose for his decision, starting with his life.

  • aamin

    12 Christians dead? LIAR!! 12 people dead, 7 Muslims and 5 Christians. And that woman who converted to Islam in order to get divorce should be hunged, she doesn't deserve any merci. But that wasn't the case. She was right and held by the Church and now she's still a Muslim and married to her Muslim boyfriend eventhough he is in jail for using Salafis to burn the Church. It's fact, Christian girls in Egypt convert to Islam for two reasons, 1. they fell in love with a Muslim guy. 2. They want to get divorce from their abusive husbands–this is the Church's fault for not allowing their people civil marriage law. Both are stupid reasons. http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/484562

    • max

      Nice to see Muslim propagandists reading Ibrahims site… Clearly u are the liar. This report states 12 Copts were killed, nothing about Muslims -http://www.aina.org/news/20110508144114.htm
      And the link u give is to that notorious anti-Copt rag tag, which gives a distorted view. At least u admit that these girls find nothing appealing about Islam itself, which is honest.

  • Patrick

    Honestly, I am a Copt and the notion that Al Masry Al Youm is an anti-Coptic ragtag is laughable..it is owned by a Copt! (Naguib Sawiris). And the link you give (AINA) is actually quite biased, though it does serve a valuable function by reporting smaller sectarian incidents that aren't covered by mainstream Egyptian or international papers.

    Aamin is right about the deathtoll and the reasons for conversion in Egypt–and it doesn't really contradict anything Raymond said. Though I honestly don't understand why she deserves the death penalty??? (Care to explain aamin). No religious decision warrants death..that is an incredibly backwards view of things.

    If the Coptic church legalizes divorce, or at least returns to the 1940s Coptic divorce laws where there were 13 reasons for divorce, it would help the situation a lot. The government should also remove religion from ID cards, allow Christian men to marry Muslim women without conversion, and allow conversion from Islam to Christianity just as it allows conversion from Christianity to Islam. If everyone is held to the same laws regarding conversion and marriage and divorce, things would be much better in Egypt.

  • Kareem

    The author is using a social problem in Egypt to inflame hatre against Western Muslims in America. It is the MO of the Islamophobic cottage industry in America. They scour the Muslim world for things like this, and use them as rallying cries for anti-Muslim hate in America. They are not really interested in the wellfare of Christian girls in Egypt, just injury to Western Muslims.

    • Poppakap

      …talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

      Kareem, do you know what "projection" is?

      Where in the article is anything mentioned about western Muslims? What exactly constitutes a call to hate in the Muslim mind? 'Cause it seems to us western-born-and-bred folk that anything criticizing the Muslim religion or the acts of Muslim people is considered hate to you. We in the US have other words for this mentality; insecurity, propaganda, immaturity, etc.

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  • Abdullah

    Christian Arabs hate it when they see lots of Christians embrace Islam. Imagine how enraged they are when their women are converting in droves.

    • Poppakap

      …and Arab Muslims hate it more when one of theirs converts to Christianity. They hate it to the point of massive civil unrest and murder.

      Tell me Abdullah, why should anyone be persecuted for following the dictates of their own conscience (i.e., changing religious beliefs)? Why do Islamists insist on the death penalty for those who leave the oh-so-loving embrace of your religion?

      • Abby

        If you knew arabic, you would go online, and hear all those people explain how they went through torture by the church for converting to islam. And what the church put them through to try to force them to convert back. I am sick of hearing lies lies lies, just because you want to justify the killings, and the racism you inflict on another race, and ethnicity. Grow up people. Go read your history books and find out who the real killers are. Hundreds of thousands innocent people in Iraq have been killed so far for what ? OIL!, Afghani people have been massacred countless times. And if you think otherwise you are not being honest with yourself. people now days repeat what the media says like parrots, they don't try to find out the truth through research. When a muslim does something he is a terrorist, when a christian does something ..OMG! they are mentally sick…Grow up people. missionaries here stand by the school doors handing bibles to underage kids. I wonder what would happen if a mosque did that? the whole news media would go crazy " how dare muslims do something like that? they are trying to force kids into islam" really? really? before you become so judgmental go read about islam from islamic books, not books written by non muslims who only write to attack, look for ones written by muslim scholars, read the Quran. you will find that their teachings emphasize not forcing anyone into islam. IT IS FORBIDDEN in islam. and it also forbids the mistreatment of non muslims.

    • kenkafir

      With a big YEAAAH…c'mon and see the result of sowing the seeds of hatred ,murder and rape over a period of 1,000 years rule in India. There are almost no or very few conversions to Islam in India.Today even one rape of a Hindu women results in a very gooood lesson taught to the offending Muslims let alone murder . Here the HINDUS are very well prepared and capable of dealing with THE SECOND LARGEST MUSLIM POPULATION IN THE WORLD!!!!! One day America ,England and all Europe will be well prepared too….Besides…..You crazy people are killing one another!!!!

    • God

      Freedom of faith in the middle east will be the end of Islam since many Muslims will leave he Islam cult.

  • AP49

    Abdullah, you sound like one of those inferiority complex Muslims described in the article, "struck with blindness." Anyone who thinks Coptic girls are just being floored over by the "light of Islam" and "converting in droves," with no ulterior motives, is definitely blind.

    • Ani

      It is people who make up stories that have the inferiority complex. It is people that lie that have the inferiority complex.

  • Ahmad

    We Muslims don't have an inferiority complex about someone joining Islam, we are proud of people who find the truth.

    • Octagramist

      Sir Ahmed just"إعرض عن الجاهلين " and read this BS to see how others think….
      "the truth shall remain truth wither they liked it or not"

    • God

      Islam is the devil teachings. It is not the truth nor will it ever be. Without true freedoms and human right, Islam is nothing more than politics to control minds, woman, power, money and politics in order to allow your uneducated sheiks to marry four young girls and have 50 kids each. Kids to teach them about your fake faith and fake prophet. The reason why Muslims don't want human rights and freedom of faith in the middle east is because most Muslims know that Islam is more about politics and most would leave Islam. It is better to have no faith at all than in Islam. Islam is inhuman. Shame on you Arab husbands for not giving freedoms to you females "wives, sisters, mother, daughters". The teachings of Islam and Sharia is Islam's worst enemy !

  • Octagramist

    We will see about all the crap this website say after things change in EU and USA after the day of rage on wall-street.
    until then.anything came here is pure BS

  • sha

    MAY Allah forgive you and help you see what is right

    • God

      May God end Islam and help Muslims to open their eyes and see your own fake faith and fake prophet. My God help all Muslims to leave this fake cult using the name oh Allah to control minds, woman, politics, money and children.

  • mjazz

    Often the Christian girls are raped by Muslims and when her family considers her "soiled" and wants nothing to do with her she has no choice but to go with the man who raped her.
    The Copts have to change their attitude in situations like this.
    Are Muslim women so unattractive that Muslim men have to resort to this?

  • PatriotX

    All good points however as far as that comment “…incite hatred among western muslims”, PLEASE!!!! Everytime one of these lunatic fundalmentalists strap on an explosive vest and take out innocent people is enough incite some hatred and resentment, don’t you think?

  • BertieM

    Islam says that "Females can be ridden like animals?"

    So, are we talking domestic animals? wild animals? pets? yee-haw.

    • Amy

      Where did you get that stupid comment? "Islam says that "Females can be ridden like animals?"" you are misinformed. No where does it say anything like that.

  • Ranchman

    The simple truth of the Western world is that muslims come here and whine and cry and demand that their backwards lifestyle be condoned, including honor killing, polygamy, pedophilia, etc.We will not put up with this crap in America like they do in London. So what's the muslim answer to that? "Day of Rage?" Civil violence? Burning things and blowing them up? And you muslims wonder why, give me a break. The more you scream and insist that you will take over our country the more you harden our reserve. Keep it up, it's self defeating behavior and I for one welcome it.

    • Amy

      No one cries here. and before you go accusing muslims of "honor killing, pedophilia" Which islam FORBIDS, go look at the statistics of christians raping their daughters, fathering their own grandkids….here in the US. Islam is not the only faith that allows polygamy, but it is allowed only in special cases. In the Quran it states that men will have to treat their wives equally if they mary more then one, and it also states that they will be unable to do so. In other words, it is allowed in extreme cases. If a man's wife in islam gets critically ill, where she is unable to move or do anything, he is allowed to marry again, and does not have to leave her. He is still responsible or her under islamic law. I see that better then dumping her, and cheating just because he wants to live his life; which happens a lot. don't you think?

  • turkp

    coptic girls prefer muslim boys because muslims are more handsome.

    • Amy

      No they are more caring, and they have more rights under islamic laws contrary to the lies spread in the west.

    • God

      Muslim boys have ugly heart, souls, minds and intentions. ALL NON MUSLIM WOMAN : STAY AWAY FROM MUSLIM MEN. THE TEACHING OF THEIR FAKE FAITH WILL ENSURE YOUR ETERNAL MISERY !

  • http://www.csi-schweiz.ch Adrian Hartmann

    There are hundreds of cases, where young Coptic women are lured into a relationship with a Muslim man and then forced to marry (e.g. through rape) him and convert to Islam. Watch a hearing at an important US-Commission: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/MinoritiesinE/
    Or read the paper written by Michele Clark, a expert in Human Trafficking: http://csce.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContentRecor

  • Long Ben

    The Women and children of the Infidels are considered spoil for Mohammedans , are they not . Americans should tell every government agency in charge of immigration that this is a viper we would not import unto our bosom .

    • PatriotX

      Yea, maybe, but I can’t condemn an entire religion with a clear conscience however I can condemn all of the lunatics in our country that’s chanting “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad against the infidel pigs!!!!”. Anybody and everybody found to be guilty of supporting this nonsense, should be deported.

    • Ani

      the fact that you used the word "Mohammedans" tells me you know nothing about islam. enlighten yourself and do some reading before you allow yourself to be so prejudice.

  • BZ

    American hillbillys are found commenting even here

  • God

    Islam are the teachings of the DEVIL .. Wake up and open your eyes .. No true faith will teach what is in Quran and Sharia .. No True faith will teach so much hate and violence. The teachings of Islam is it worst enemy and is the cause why many Muslims are leaving Islam. Islam is not a faith, It is a way to control minds, woman, kids, money, politics and power so old sheiks can merry 4 young girls and have 50 kids each to each them about heir fake faith and fake thug prophet.

  • samuel chikwendu

    i am a christian not because i was born in a christian, i have done spiritual and theologcal exploration on the majors religions like islam; buda;hindu; etc. heaven is a spiritual place only those who have the life of GOD in there spirit can enter heaven. this life of God is called ETERNAL LIFE and it is only obtainable in christ Jesus son of the living God 1john 5vs11-12. one day i asked GOD in my prayer are the millions of muslims going to perish for rejecting Jesus ur son as their lord and saviour; he told me in noahs time only 8 persons were saved. i said what about those who never heard of christ Jesus ; he said he is a God of justice and he will do justice on the judgement day, he spoke about the tribulation period if those people pass the text they will be saved. one thing again i love about christianty is the reality of Holy spirit.pls if ur have not made jesus ur lord and saviour pls do cos religion is not from GOD. God was in an intimate relationship wit adam and eve they lost it but the reality is in christ Jesus the reality is the relationship is restored 2corinthans 5vs17-21. holy spirit help who ever is reading dis in Jesus mighty name. from nigeria call me if u want any advice 08037521202