By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– Representatives of Egypt’s embattled Coptic Christians say the recent kidnapping of a Christian teenager underscores mounting concern about increased anti-Christian violence in the Muslim nation.
Anthonius Farag, 13, was reportedly kidnapped April 5 in Upper Egypt province. After a ransom was paid, the young teen was released 12 days later. Christians said the boy was snatched outside his school early that morning in the village of Mansheyyit Manbal, some 230 kilometers (143 miles) south of Cairo.
The perpetrators reportedly released a Muslim child after identifying the student’s religion by his name, but sped away in a vehicle forcefully retaining the Christian teen.
Yet advocacy group Coalition of Coptic Egypt (CCE) said this was not an isolated incident. In the Upper Egyptian province of Qena alone at least 72 cases of kidnapping, extortion and related violence against Copts was reported during the period of 2011 to 2014.
Victims targeted in the kidnappings ranged from children to the elderly, activists said.
Targeted violence against Copts, the word used for most Egyptian Christians, also occurred elsewhere in the country.
During a two-year period leading up to July 2015 CCE said “127 Coptic families were forced to leave Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and al-Arish after a rash of attacks.”
Activists say the phenomenon is also plaguing the Egyptian northeastern Sinai Peninsula where an apparent Islamist insurgency has been taking place.