The Price of Refusing Islam  by Sara Ghorab 

In years past, the price of refusing Islam—for Copts in Egypt, anyway—included either paying the Jizia (Humiliation Tax), or dying by the sword. And, in the interest of furthering the new “Official Language of Islam,” Arabic, Copts were forced to learn this new tongue—unless they felt like having theirs ripped out. 


Gruesome images, I know. But unfortunately, we’re only getting started with the horror show. See, a young man, Hani Sarofim Nasrala Issak, who was a soldier in the Egyptian Army until very recently, has departed this earth.  

Not by accident, and not in a nice way. And I would say “not by choice,” but the truth is that he, in some fashion, chose it. 

He didn’t choose to be tortured in such a way that his hands and face were burned almost beyond recognition, he didn’t ask his murderers to throw him in the river, leaving him there to die (if he wasn’t already dead, which I find hard to believe, given the extent of the torture that he was subjected to). 


But he DID choose to remain a Christian when his boss, his immediate supervisor in the Army, “ordered” him to “reject Christianity” and embrace Islam. 


 Let us have a look at the statement that Hani’s family released about the tragegy: 

“We found him drowned in the Nile near the city of Nag Hamadi.


Marks of torture covered the entirety of his body. Earlier, Hani had told his family that there were problems between him and the direct leader of his unit because Hani was a Christian. He also told his family that his leader used to molest and torture him in front of his peer soldiers.



When his leader asked him blatantly to reject Chrisitianity and convert to Islam, Hani refused and told him he would notify the military intelligence.



The leader threatened him saying “Ok Hani, I will settle things with you!” The leader subsequently arranged to kill Hani by sending him to a station near his village, at Nag Al-Ghaliz of the city of Nag Hamadi, in order to eliminate any suspicions about the plan.” (Sources: and

Horrible. Awful. Unimaginable. 


Actually, and most unfortunately, this scenario is imaginable, because that’s how things are in Egypt, much of the time.  


And by “how things are,” I mean that being harrassed, tormented, and yes, tortured, isn’t a rarity in Egypt.  

 Not for Christians, at least.  

Not for “Ahl El Ketab” who wish to stay that way.  (Ahl el Ketab is Koran-speak for “people of the book,” which refers to Christians and Jews, who look to the Bible and the Torah, respectively.) 


You know what? I am livid. Heartbroken. Sickened that an ANIMAL like Hani’s leader can get away with what he did.  


It’s not all that amusing now, when Hani’s ghost and autopsy photographs are all we have left of him, but Hani’s boss (and other Muslims) like to call us “Ahl el Ketab” when they are actually “Ahl el Kelab,” or “The people of the Dogs.” 

 They ARE dogs. Who, but dogs, would torture someone of their own species in that way?  Actually, comparing these rabid Islamic Fundamentalists with dogs seems cruel to the dogs, so many apologies to Fido, Fluffy, and Fifi. Sara Ghorab   

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