Ranya Abd al-Masih was a high school teacher in a city north of Cairo, and has three daughters, a husband and large family she loves dearly. Her brother said, “If you can hear me, Ranya, know that we will never abandon you until we see you because you are a victim of a terror.”
RAIR Foundation 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.
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.”
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”
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.”