Coptic Christian girl returns home after kidnapping and 'conversion' to Islam

A 16-year-old Coptic Christian girl has been released and returned to her family following 92 days in Islamist captivity outside Cairo, Egypt. She had been kidnapped to be 'converted to Islam, then married off or sold' before police found her.

World Watch MonitorMarilyn was kidnapped in June, but returned to her family last month.

Marilyn was found with her captors in 10th of Ramadan, a city just outside Cairo, according to World Watch Monitor. Her captors were arrested and on September 30 she was returned to her family.

Marilyn's village priest, Father Boutros Khalaf, said she had 'not been treated well' by her kidnapper and his brother, but was 'very happy to be back with her family'.

He added: 'We thank God for answering our prayers and the prayers of many other people,' he added. 'And we thank all the policemen in the police station that helped us so much in releasing our daughter, Marilyn. We appreciate their great efforts.'

Marilyn was kidnapped on June 30 as part of what World Watch Monitor has reported as a pattern of Islamist groups targeting young Coptic girls to be kidnapped, converted to Islam, then married off or sold.

The method of capture reportedly involves a 'romantic relationship' begun with a girl as a guise to gain their trust and hide what is ultimately a kidnapping. In Marilyn's case her 'boyfriend' Tala became her captor.

Following her disappearance, videos of Marilyn had surfaced online in which she said she had converted to Islam; she was seen holding a Qur'an in one video and apparently repeating words dictated to her in another.

Coptic Christians represent about 10 per cent of the majority Muslim population in Egypt. The past year has seen systemic persecution of the minority group, with multiple church bombings and attacks claimed by ISIS, that have killed more than 100 people.