In the al-Nafura region of Asyut, Egypt, an increasingly common scene took place earlier this month.
Isaac Eli—a Coptic Christian—was abducted under threat of gunfire.
According to sources, four “unknown persons” armed with automatic weapons came upon the Coptic wood merchant while he was working in front of his home, coerced him into their car, and sped away.
Later, one of his relatives received a phone call demanding a hefty ransom to release the Christian man: 500,000 Egyptian pounds—the equivalent of approximately $72,000 USD, an exorbitant sum for any resident of Upper Egypt.
Such scenarios—Coptic children or adults abducted at gunpoint and held (and sometimes killed or forced to convert to Islam) by “unknown persons” in exchange for money—are on the rise in Egypt (see here, here, here, here, and here for some recent examples)....