Forced conversion is a common refrain in Muslim history. Given the level of Muslim-on-Christian violence in Egypt, as well as the official discrimination against the Coptic community, the stories of Coptic women being kidnapped and forcibly converted are believable. Nevertheless, the contrary evidence has to be given due weight, as well. This issue deserved sustained attention from governments, women’s groups and human rights organizations.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will meet with President Barack Obama next week in Washington. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom sent a letter to Obama on August 10. The letter noted an upsurge in Muslim violence against Christians in Egypt, as well as issues with the Baha’i minority and Egyptian support for banning “defamation of religion,” a mask for suppressing criticism of Islam. The International Religious Freedom Commission urged Obama to raise these issues with Mubarak when they meet. He probably will; how will Mubarak respond?