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(Source: VOM-USA)

Sarah Ishaq Abdelmalek
Photo: AINA

A 14-year-old girl in Egypt has been kidnapped and reportedly forced to marry her Muslim captor. Sarah Abdelmalek is the latest victim of a common practice of kidnapping Coptic Christian girls and forcing them to marry as part of a strategy to limit and intimidate the country's Christian population.

Sarah was last seen entering a paper shop near her school in September. After Sarah's father filed a missing persons report, he received a phone call telling him he would never see his daughter again.

A school friend of Sarah's says the 27-year-old paper shop owner, a member of an extremist Sunni Muslim group called the Salafists, had been pursuing Sarah. About a month after she was reported missing, a Salafist organization issued a statement saying that Sarah converted to Islam freely and married a Muslim man. Even if Sarah wanted to marry voluntarily, under Egyptian law, she would have to wait until she turned 18.

A VOM worker states that at least 24 girls have been kidnapped recently, ranging in age from 14 to 21 years old (for previous report, click here).

Please pray for strength on behalf of Sarah's family as they endure this heartbreaking separation. Also remember young Sarah, asking for the Lord to protect her spiritually, emotionally and physically. Throughout the ordeal, may she remain steadfast in her faith and eventually find her way safely back to her family. Let's stand in agreement together that such incidences of kidnapping and forced marriages would entirely cease.

To learn more about the suffering of believers in this part of the world, go to Egypt's Country Report.