Ebram Louis and the Contested Nature of Coptic Disappearances

Ebram Louis

Ebram Louis

From my recent article on Egypt Source:

Maryam Milad disappeared in 2012. Last seen in the church of St. Anthony in Shubra, her father believes his now eighteen year old daughter has been kidnapped and perhaps married off to a Salafi Muslim somewhere. Police, he says, have been uncooperative.

“I plead with all the authorities in Egypt,” he said at a prayer meeting highlighting more than a dozen similar cases. “Put yourselves in the place of us parents.”

According to Ebram Louis, founder of the Association for the Victims of Abductions and Enforced Disappearances (AVAED), this is just the tip of the iceberg. He has documented 500 such cases since the revolution.

The article describes his process of documentation, and reveals interesting statistics from AVAED’s findings:

But according to AVAED chief field researcher George Nushi, up to 60 percent of all cases are [stemming from initial love relations]. Most of these, he said, involve Muslims of bad intention. The girl becomes infatuated, but then she is told she cannot go home again.

There are violent cases, but they are limited in number. Even so, AVAED sees religious extremism involved prominently:

“We do not say ‘kidnapping’ in the beginning,” he said, “We say ‘disappearance.’” Nushi says only 5 percent of girls suffered violent kidnappings in the traditional sense.

How does he then have such certainty that malevolent, organized Salafi groups are involved? Of their 500 cases, ten have escaped to tell their story. These stories reveal patterns which indicate similar activity, locations, and even phone numbers.

This issue requires deep research and understanding of the Egyptian social and cultural settings, far deeper than the scope of this article. But please click here to read the rest at Egypt Source.

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