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Law Center Files First Ever Anti-Trafficking Lawsuit Against Pornography Producers on Behalf of Survivor

How Cissy Steele Groomed Jane Doe

Cissy Steele was using the internet to disguise herself as a talent agent from Royal Loyalty Management who was looking for models and actresses when she came across Jane Doe (not her real name). Steele then proceeded to prey upon Jane Doe by intentionally cultivating a sense of trust and building a false relationship. Steele reached out to Jane Doe online and offered her lucrative acting and modeling opportunities. After communicating, Steele convinced Jane Doe to take a modeling opportunity with the promise of making Doe into a successful model and actress. Steele manipulated Doe to go a step further and move into Steele’s home with the reassurance that this move would benefit Doe’s supposed new career.

Online Grooming Turns Into Sex Trafficking Situation

Once Jane Doe was ensconced in Steele’s house, Steele furthered her deception of Doe by setting up several faux modeling photoshoots. After a few months, Steele began verbally degrading Doe and telling Doe that the only way she had a chance at becoming a lucrative actress or model was through pornographic “acting.” When Jane Doe resisted this pressure, Steele began using psychological manipulation, direct coercion, intimidation, threats, and physical violence against Doe including threatening to kill Doe’s dog and harm her family. In the end Steele managed to effectively imprison Jane Doe and coerce her into commercial sex acts with men at various hotels in several states. All the money made from Jane Doe’s sexual exploitation was immediately pocketed by Steele.

From there, Steele also trafficked Jane Doe to multiple pornography production companies in California and Nevada including Diabolic Video Productions, Black Ice Ltd., Zero Tolerance Entertainment, Third Degree Films, and Elegant Angel, Inc.  All of the pornography producers directly paid Steele for Jane Doe’s participation in the videos despite clear signs that Doe was being trafficked.

Pornography Production Companies Complicit in Crime

The pornography production companies distributed the videos of Jane Doe to a multitude of internet pornography providers. As a result, the online porn providers illegally profited from the sex trafficking of Jane Doe through advertisements on their websites as well as through viewers’ subscription fees.

Eventually, with the help of a friend, Jane Doe escaped from Cissy Steele’s home and control and began a new life. Despite Jane Doe’s many efforts to have the videos taken down, her videos remain on several online sites to this day.

Legal Argument Filed on Behalf of Jane Doe

Cissy Steele, the pornography production studios, and the internet pornography websites violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) which prohibits anyone from knowingly using force, fraud, and coercion to entrap victims into commercial sex acts and profiting off of their exploitation.

Accordingly, Jane Doe has now sued Cissy Steele, the pornography production companies, and the online pornography providers which continue to show and sell videos of her sexual abuse and exploitation against her will. The case, filed on September 24, 2020, is in federal district court in San Diego.

As horrific as this case is, it is not an anomaly. Countless Jane Does are trafficked and exploited by the pornography production industry and internet pornography providers. Jane Doe repeatedly attempted to have her sex trafficking videos removed to no avail and there are websites that continue to profit off of her sexual abuse and exploitation to this day. The same is the case for myriad survivors who find their sexual abuse images and videos on internet pornography websites and are afflicted with the paralysis of not being able to remove the degrading and re-traumatizing content. As long as someone is willing to pay for this content, pornography production companies and internet pornography providers have proven more than willing to provide it—no matter how violent, dangerous, and degrading the content may be.

Jane Doe is Not the Only Victim

Take the case of Mia Khalifa as another example.

In 2015, Mia Khalifa mistakenly signed a contract with a pornography production studio and resigned after two weeks. The contract she signed gave the company control over the websites and domains that contained her stage name. Although Khalifa has been out of the pornography business for over five years, the pornography production company is still promoting her videos and creating an illusion that she is still engaged in the commercial sex industry even though she has worked hard to have her videos removed from pornography sites. This reality has made it difficult for Khalifa to find employment in other fields, which only furthers the reach and extent of the exploitation.

Like many others, Khalifa’s attempts to remove her videos have been met by indifference from the pornography companies. “Pornography companies prey on callow young women and trap them legally into contracts where they’re vulnerable,” Khalifa noted in comments published by The Guardian. She also stated that during every filmed scene she would black out, yet no one on the set seemed to notice or offer any assistance: “The abuse and exploitation of young women is normalized in pornography, and if you don’t comply, you’re threatened, beaten, and intimidated.”

Pornography Producers Are Sexual Exploiters

Whether or not there is a contract in place, the sexual exploitation and abuse that comes from pornography production studios and internet pornography providers is degrading, traumatizing, and crippling. These abusive companies know they are profiting off of the sexual exploitation of women who have been beaten down, manipulated, often drugged, and are in no condition to acquiesce to such exploitation. The pornography industry’s lack of regulation hinders many survivors from fully healing, as they are continuously haunted by the existence of videos of their abuse living on in the Internet.

The Hope Jane Doe v. Cissy Steele Gives

The Cissy Steel lawsuit is the first federal lawsuit against a pornography producer and online pornography website for federal anti-trafficking violations. We hope this lawsuit and many others like it will hold pornography producers and internet pornography providers accountable for the damage, abuse, and exploitation of the untold numbers of women and children trafficked in the pornography industry.

Read NCOSE Law’s Amended Complaint here.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center offers survivors of pornography-related abuse a way to seek justice. More information can be found at: https://sexualexploitationlawsuits.com/.

COLUMN BY

Madison Van Oss

LEGAL ASSISTANT
Madison is the Legal Assistant for the Law Center at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Madison supports the Law Center and its quest to bring justice to survivors of the sex trade industry through civil and criminal litigation. Madison brings with her a master’s degree in Homeland Security, several years of professional experience in the corporate world, as well as strong desire to protect and defend individuals against sexual abuse and exploitation.

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EDITORS NOTE: This NCOSE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

National Organization for Marriage #FreeSpeechBus vandalized in New York City

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has joined with the International Organization for the Family (IOF) and CitizenGO, a community of active citizens who promote life, family and liberty, to sponsor a #FreeSpeechBus tour promoting the truth of gender.

Starting March 22nd, the NOM/IOF #FreeSpeechBus is making appearances at the United Nations, Trump Tower, Yale University and other locations with the message that gender is determined by biology rather than by emotions and feelings, and to call on all Americans to respect the free speech rights of citizens to debate these issues without fear of being demeaned, harassed, or threatened with retaliation.

Here is an image of the #FreeSpeechBus:

freespeechbus

Brian Brown from the NOM in an email writes:

Our #FreeSpeechBus was just vandalized in New York City. This is a hate crime, and sadly the way that those who pretend to preach “tolerance” feel about opposing viewpoints.

But we will not let this stop us.

Together we will stand up to the bullies and show them that the truth won’t be silenced and that our free speech will not be abridged by criminal acts of hate.

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EDITORS NOTE: Readers may donate to NOM to help repair the damage done to the #FreeSpeechBus by clicking on this link: www.nationformarriage.org/donate.

GOP Puts a Lid on Bathroom Crisis

The Family Research Council in an email writes:

Conservatives have wanted to eliminate the Department of Education for decades. And Thursday, President Obama gave them the best reason yet. The agency’s outrageous order that public schools ignore the basic biology of their students in the use of bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers may have finally awakened a sleeping giant.

Parents, governors, House and Senate leaders, religious groups, and superintendents are incensed that the White House would threaten to pull funding for children’s education over something as ridiculous and unpopular as gender-free restrooms.

Within hours of firing off this letter to every public school, college, and university in America, the blowback was fast and fierce. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) and Governor Greg Abbott (R) called on states to resist, insisting that the Lone Star State would give up all of its federal funding before letting the administration bully them on an ideology that the American College of Pediatricians calls “child abuse.” Together with Abbott, Patrick called on schools to ignore the DOE and Justice Department’s guidance. “This will be the end of public education, if this prevails,” he warned. ‘People will pull their kids out, homeschooling will explode, and private schools will increase.”

In local schools, administrators like Rodney Cavness didn’t need convincing. “I got news for President Barack Obama,”the Port-Neches-Groves superintendent told a local news outlet: “That letter is going straight to the paper shredder. I have five daughters myself, and I have 2,500 girls in my protection. Their moms and dads expect me to protect them. And that is what I am going to do. Now I don’t want them bullied… but there are accommodations that can be made short of this. He is destroying the very fiber of this country. He is not a leader. He is a failure.”

Fresh off of his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had strong words for the man occupying the office he sought.

“Having spent many years in law enforcement, I’ve handled far too many cases of child molesters, of pedophiles, of people who abused little kids. The threats of predators are serious, and we should not facilitate allowing grown men or boys to be in bathrooms with little girls… I encourage every school superintendent, school board, and parent across this nation to disregard this barely veiled threat from the White House aimed at overturning the utterly reasonable practice of preventing men and boys from entering girls’ restrooms and changing rooms. As a father of young girls, I wouldn’t want my daughters being forced to change in the same room as men and boys. It’s that simple. And parents across this country shouldn’t have to tolerate it either.”

His Texas and Tennessee colleagues, John Cornyn (R) and Lamar Alexander (R), agreed, insisting that the president’s job “is not to intervene in state and local affairs under our constitutional scheme.” “Frankly,” Cornyn went on, “I think his involvement is unwelcome.” From Arkansas to Ground Zero in North Carolina, leaders were irate over the White House’s power grab.

Read more.

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U.S. knew where girls kidnapped by Boko Haram were, did nothing to rescue them

Why not? Would rescuing them have been “Islamophobic”?

140512-boko-haram-girls-615a_95a5aaaabe54356e927c52230e8da198“Western governments KNEW where 80 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram were – but no-one tried to rescue them,” by Keiligh Baker, MailOnline, March 20, 2016:

The US and British governments knew where at least 80 of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram were but failed to launch a rescue mission, it has been revealed.

Terrorists stormed a secondary boarding school in the remote town of Chibok in Borno state, northern Nigeria in April 2014, and seized 276 girls who were preparing for end-of-year exams.

Although 57 of the girls managed to escape the rest have remained missing and have not been heard from or seen since apart from in May that year, when 130 of them appeared in a Boko Haram video wearing hijabs and reciting the Koran.

Terrorists stormed a Government Secondary School in the remote town of Chibok in Borno state, northern Nigeria in April 2014, seizing 276 girls who were preparing for end-of-year exams.

Dr Andrew Pocock, the former British high commissioner to Nigeria, has now revealed that a large group of the missing girls were spotted by British and American surveillance officials shortly after their disappearance, but experts felt nothing could be done.

He told The Sunday Times that Western governments felt ‘powerless’ to help as any rescue attempt would have been too high risk – with Boko Haram terrorists using the girls as human shields.

Dr Pocock said: ‘A couple of months after the kidnapping, fly-bys and an American eye in the sky spotted a group of up to 80 girls in a particular spot in the Sambisa forest, around a very large tree, called locally the Tree of Life, along with evidence of vehicular movement and a large encampment.’

He said the girls were there for at least four weeks but authorities were ‘powerless’ to intervene – and the Nigerian government did not ask for help anyway.

He said: ‘A land-based attack would have been seen coming miles away and the girls killed, an air-based rescue, such as flying in helicopters or Hercules, would have required large numbers and meant a significant risk to the rescuers and even more so to the girls.’

He added: ‘You might have rescued a few but many would have been killed. My personal fear was always about the girls not in that encampment — 80 were there, but 250 were taken, so the bulk were not there. What would have happened to them? You were damned if you do and damned if you don’t.’

In an investigation by Christina Lamb for the Sunday Times Magazine, Dr Pocock said the information was passed to the Nigerians but they made no request for help.

The Magazine has also seen brutal rape videos which show schoolgirls are being used as sex slaves by the terrorists.

Ms Lamb reports: ‘They film schoolgirls being raped over and over again until their scream become silent Os.’

Some of the girls who managed to escape told Ms Lamb they were kept in ‘women’s prisons’ where they were taught about Islam. Boko Haram fighters would visit and pick their wives.

The girls were powerless to resist as even then the men would be heavily armed. They were shown videos of people being raped, tortured and killed as a threat of what would happen to them if they tried to run away….

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VIDEO: Muslim ‘Rape Culture’ Threatens European Women

New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany saw an unprecedented number of sexual assaults against German women.  This, of course, is just one example of a trend occurring across Europe after an influx of Middle Eastern and North African refugees.

Vienna Police Chief Gerhard Purstl warned, “Women should in general not go out on the streets at night alone, they should avoid suspicious looking areas and also when in pubs and clubs should only accept drinks from people they know.”

While Purstl’s advice has been met with backlash, mainly from feminists who reject the initial stance that women should need to be more careful, the question remains, why is this happening?

The origin of these exceedingly violent sexual attacks, known as taharrush–gang gropings and rapes–can be traced back to the Egyptian Revolution, which followed the fall of then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Angie Abdelmonem, a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University, who recently published a study regarding instances of taharrush during the Egyptian Revolution, stated, “Between 2011 and 2013, sexual harassment became common at protests in Tahrir Square, exemplified by a number of highly publicized violent attacks that demonstrate how women’s bodies became objectified and dehumanized during the uprising.”

Egypt has been a hotbed of sexual harassment, usually verbal, for a long time, but something about the uprising and forced resignation of Mubarak sparked the physical and more violent taharrush.

Some analysts believe taharrush to be a product of North-African men, not necessarily Middle-Eastern or Muslim men.  It is unclear why this is the case, except for the fact that North Africa, especially Egypt, is home to a patriarchal society that permits or at least to some extent turns a blind eye to sexual harassment against women.

Since Egyptian society refuses to give women independence from men, it presumably makes it easier for women to be viewed as objects instead of people. This, coupled with the destabilization of the Egyptian government, seem to be the most plausible factors that created the type of environment necessary for this particularly violent kind of sexual assault to manifest.

This is just one filmed example of recent sexual harassment of women in Europe:

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VIDEO: Mothers appeal to Women and Girls not to join the Islamic State

The British police force teams up with Muslim mothers in an appeal to Muslim women and girls not to join the Islamic State.

Read the Islamic State’s Rules for Rape

Islamic State theologians have issued detailed rulings on who can rape sex slaves and when in a detailed fatwa.

The fatwa was seized by the U.S. military as part of a trove of documents captured earlier this year in a raid that killed Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) financial officer Abu Sayyaf in May. Reuters has been running exposes on some of the documents seized in the raid, including this fatwa.

Fatwa No. 64, dated Jan. 29, 2015, issued by Islamic State’s Committee of Research and Fatwas is structured as warnings to “some of the brothers” who “have committed violations in the matter of the treatment of the female slaves” which ISIS feels “are not permitted by Sharia law.”

To avoid future misunderstandings the fatwa department codifies the rules of sexual slavery thus:

  • A slave owner cannot have intercourse (rape) his female-slave if she is pregnant or menstruating.
  • He may not rape both a mother and daughter if he owns both women.
  • He may not rape two sisters if he owns both – he must choose only one. If he sells one however, the other becomes permitted.
  • A son may not rape the slave of his father, nor the father the slave of his son. Neither may a husband rape his wife’s slave. Selling or giving away the girl changes this.
  • A slave owner is not allowed to abort a fetus of his slave impregnated by  him.

There are also injunctions to treat slaves well:

  • The owner of a female captive should show compassion towards her, be kind to her, not humiliate her, and not assign her work she is unable to perform.

For an organization infamous for its draconian approach to crime and punishment, specific penalties for breaches of these rules are conspicuous by their absence.

Another pamphlet, translated by scholar and Islamic State expert Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, lays out the sharia basis for taking captives in war, including sex-slaves, providing instruction on who fighters are allowed to capture and enslave.

“For the disbelievers who have no pact of the dhimmi, ceasefire or security between them and the Muslims, the principle regarding them is that their blood and property are free for pillage if they do not convert to Islam or pay the jizya and enter under the rule of Shari’a” the pamphlet reads.

“In this regard their women and offspring may be taken captive.”

The pamphlet stipulates that it is not permissible to rape female captives until they are confirmed as slaves, since the imam (caliph) may decide to either release or ransom them. Only non-Muslims may be taken as captives, and of those, not Jews and Christians who have agreed to submit to the caliphate under a pact of dhimma.

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Muslim Sex Slaves: ‘There were days when seven to eight men — all from Saudi Arabia — would assault us’

“There were days when seven to eight men — all from Saudi Arabia — would assault us.” Where did this Saudi diplomat get the idea to hold these women and use them as sex slaves? This account is eerily similar to the accounts of non-Muslim girls in Britain who have been brutalized by Muslim rape gangs, and to those of women who escaped after being used as sex slaves by the Islamic State. Where do all these Muslims get the idea to do this? From the Qur’an, of course. The seizure of Infidel girls and their use as sex slaves is sanctioned in the Qur’an. According to Islamic law, Muslim men can take “captives of the right hand” (Qur’an 4:3, 4:24, 33:50). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war” (33:50). 4:3 and 4:24 extend this privilege to Muslim men in general.

The Qur’an says that a man may have sex with his wives and with these slave girls: “The believers must (eventually) win through, those who humble themselves in their prayers; who avoid vain talk; who are active in deeds of charity; who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess, for (in their case) they are free from blame.” (Qur’an 23:1-6)

The rape of captive women is also sanctioned in Islamic tradition:

Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa’id al Khadri (Allah he pleased with him): 0 Abu Sa’id, did you hear Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-’azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing ‘azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born. (Muslim 3371)

It is also in Islamic law: “When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled.” (Umdat al-Salik O9.13)

The Egyptian Sheikh Abu-Ishaq al-Huwayni declared in May 2011 that “we are in the era of jihad,” and that meant Muslims would take slaves. In a subsequent interview he elaborated:

Jihad is only between Muslims and infidels. Spoils, slaves, and prisoners are only to be taken in war between Muslims and infidels. Muslims in the past conquered, invaded, and took over countries. This is agreed to by all scholars—there is no disagreement on this from any of them, from the smallest to the largest, on the issue of taking spoils and prisoners. The prisoners and spoils are distributed among the fighters, which includes men, women, children, wealth, and so on.

When a slave market is erected, which is a market in which are sold slaves and sex-slaves, which are called in the Qur’an by the name milk al-yamin, “that which your right hands possess” [Koran 4:24]. This is a verse from the Qur’an which is still in force, and has not been abrogated. The milk al-yamin are the sex-slaves. You go to the market, look at the sex-slave, and buy her. She becomes like your wife, (but) she doesn’t need a (marriage) contract or a divorce like a free woman, nor does she need a wali. All scholars agree on this point—there is no disagreement from any of them. […] When I want a sex slave, I just go to the market and choose the woman I like and purchase her.

Around the same time, on May 25, 2011, a female Kuwaiti politician, Salwa al-Mutairi, also spoke out in favor of the Islamic practice of sexual slavery of non-Muslim women, emphasizing that the practice accorded with Islamic law and the parameters of Islamic morality.

A merchant told me that he would like to have a sex slave. He said he would not be negligent with her, and that Islam permitted this sort of thing. He was speaking the truth. I brought up [this man’s] situation to the muftis in Mecca. I told them that I had a question, since they were men who specialized in what was halal, and what was good, and who loved women. I said, “What is the law of sex slaves?”

The mufti said, “With the law of sex slaves, there must be a Muslim nation at war with a Christian nation, or a nation which is not of the religion, not of the religion of Islam. And there must be prisoners of war.”

“Is this forbidden by Islam?” I asked.

“Absolutely not. Sex slaves are not forbidden by Islam. On the contrary, sex slaves are under a different law than the free woman. The free woman must be completely covered except for her face and hands. But the sex slave can be naked from the waist up. She differs a lot from the free woman. While the free woman requires a marriage contract, the sex slave does not—she only needs to be purchased by her husband, and that’s it. Therefore the sex slave is different than the free woman.”

The savage exploitation of girls and young women is, unfortunately, a cross-cultural phenomenon, but only in Islamic law does it carry divine sanction.

SlaveMarketDay74

“Saudi diplomat in Delhi charged with gang-rape; Nepalese women recall ordeal,” Zee News, September 9, 2015:

Gurgaon: In a shocking narrative, a 20-year-old woman from Nepal said she and her 44-year-old mother were sexually abused every day for the last four months by a Saudi diplomat in a flat in Gurgaon.

The diplomat at the Saudi Arabia embassy in New Delhi has been booked for rape while his wife and daughter have been booked for torturing domestic helps in the Millennium City, the Haryana Police said.

The mother-daughter, who were brought to India with the lure of a better future, today claimed they were not being paid wages for the last four months and now wish to go back “home” as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, The Indian Express quoted the 20-year-old as saying: “Last four months were a curse for us. It was so ugly…we thought we were going to die in that house and our families would never even find our bodies,” [sic]

The mother and daughter were “rescued” on Monday evening from an apartment on the fifth floor of Ambience Island Caitriona complex here. The victims were “rescued” after the intervention of the Nepalese embassy and with the help of an NGO Maiti Nepal India, police said.

“There were days when seven to eight men — all from Saudi Arabia — would assault us. If we resisted, the diplomat and his family would threaten to kill us and dispose of our bodies in the sewer,” said the older woman.

The duo said that on some days, they would be given no food at all. However, they were allowed to take bath, just before they had to meet the diplomat’s ‘guests’, who would rape and sodomise them, reported the daily.

“We were made to do all the household chores, from morning till late in the night, and then subjected to sexual assault at the end of the day. We were not given food. Sometimes we only survived on biscuits, bread and watery tea. We were never allowed to step out of the house,” said the women.

They also claimed that the diplomat took them to other places, including Nainital and Agra, where they were subjected to further sexual assault by other ‘guests’.

“Right after we were employed, our employer took us to Saudi Arabia for 15 days. There, he did not touch us or misbehave with us. After we returned in May, he asked us to massage him… he then raped us and forced us to have unnatural sex and oral sex. After that he offered us to his friends regularly,” they said.

“They used to keep us in locked rooms and did not let us make any sound. They showed knives and threatened to kill us otherwise,” the older victim told PTI today while showing her wounds.

“We were told they he’s a good man with a big house. But we did not know what he does. We were brought for handling domestic chores…But he did horrific things with us,” said the woman.

“We want to go back to Nepal and these people should be jailed as soon as possible,” she added.

The 44-year-old also told news agency ANI “around five-six people used to come and lock us in a room and harass us.”…

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Egypt: Underage Coptic girl abducted, Muslim neighbor suspected

A 17-year old Coptic Christian girl named Tihani al-Nur Hakim was kidnapped in late April in the village of al-Kom al-Qibliyya in Samalout, Upper Egypt.

Her family accuses the next door neighbor, a Muslim man named Ahmed Khalifa.

An eyewitness said he saw the Muslim man seizing the girl.  Although the family planned on organizing a protest, village elders counseled against it, lest it backfire by provoking more of the area’s Muslims to retaliate against the Christian minority of the region, as often happens whenever Copts demand their human rights.

Two days earlier, a young Coptic man named Abu Noub Zarif Yusif also disappeared from the region and then reappeared saying that he had converted to Islam.

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