• Ignorance of Europe, how long can it take?
EuropeNews 15 April 2012
"We are in danger. We are afraid of Islamists!"
Interview with the former Muslims Maher al-Gohary (60) and his daughter Dina (17) who escaped from Egypt because of death penalty for conversion to Christianity.
The very well known case from European media is not looking like coming to an expected happy end. Those two people have been facing difficulties for years, not only in Egypt where death penalty is sentenced for conversion from Islam to Christianity, but also in Europe, where they were subjected to the acts of discrimination by the Muslim community.
Despite of the case being frequently commented in the international media, i.e.: BBC, Fox News, and many newspapers, not so much has happened so far to change the situation. Ignorance and lack of responsibility for lives of this two innocent people are scaring. Why haven't European governments and immigration offices done what it takes to protect and ensure security for them? Where they can go next after Egypt, Syria, Germany, France and Sweden? Will the Swedish authority be the one to help and listen to them? Who will take responsibility to save those two?
Q: Can you tell us what happened to you in passing months when you decided to left Egypt, and how your lives looks like now?
Maher: We have the bad memories since 3,5 years before we got away from Egypt. Somebody tried to killed me, somebody tried to throw acid on my daughter Diner. There are many fatwas on us, saying that anyone who would ever see Maher al-Gohary, must kill him. The Police follow us from place to place, because the Islamists want to kill us.
When the revolution begun we got out to Syria, because all the embassies in Egypt were closed after revolution. When we arrived to Syria, we went to the United Nations because we had to find a safe place. Where the revolution begun we went to the embassy of Vatican and we asked for visa to France. The meeting there went well. They knew me and my daughter. They know our case and gave us the French visa.
After some days being in France we found out that there are many Islamic people on the streets. Dina was scarred. Church could not help us because of the many Muslims living in France. We decided to take a train to Germany. We found out that there also many Turkish Muslims are living. We were looking for any place with not so many Muslims, we decided to the take train to Sweden. Now we don’t have any place to stay. My daughter needs go to school but she cannot do it here.
We need to live a normal and peaceful life. The government did not promise us to let us stay in Sweden, they said that they will talk with French and maybe we will come back to France again. Why these people don't remember what we had suffered in our country? All the World knows about us, they wrote about us in newspapers, BBC, Fox News. In Germany and Holland there was made a big movie about us. We are in danger. We are afraid of Islamists. We suffer because of discrimination. We hope that one day me and my daughter Dina will live in peace and safety.’
Q: How do you feel now?
Dina: I would like to have a normal live as any girl in my age. I would like go to school and to church. I would like to come back home without being afraid that somebody would kill me.
Q: Do you remember the last time when you could meet and play with your friends, other kids?
Dina: I haven’t had a normal live in Egypt. The Christian girls were afraid that Muslim girls can kill us.
Q: Did Swedish authorities promise to help you?
M: No, but now we want mercy. I believe in Christ. We were discriminated a lot, they want push us back. We know that Saudi Arabia gives a lot’s of money to make trouble for us. Jussuf Al-Badri said during the TV program: ‘anyone who meet Maher al-Gohary must kill him’.
What can I do? What can I say? The European Union knows about us, why they don't accept us? In immigration offices they say that maybe we need to return to France, but the church did not help us in France. They said that they can’t help us and we need to leave France because there are millions of Muslims living there. Our church was afraid. Even in Egypt the Church was afraid because maybe somebody could plant a bomb because somebody had helped us. We left France and went to Germany and we found the same discrimination. We made press conferences in Germany and we were talking about everything.
German police took our passports and warned us that we should do not make any programs because if any Muslims know about us maybe they will try to kill us. I decided to go with my daughter to Sweden. When we arrived here, looking for peace and security. We want to have a permission to stay here. Why did I leave France, why did I leave Germany? Because we were in danger there! All that we want from Swedish government is to have mercy on us, and we are getting tired.
Q: Why it is so difficult for the Muslim community to accept the case of leaving Islam?
M: Muslims can be nice where they are few, but when they are many they want to force people to become the Muslims. When they are few they do not have the power, but when they grow, they can be dangerous. Mohammed said that they can kill anybody.
Q: Can you tell what does Islam mean for you?
M: We did not believe that Islam is only true God and religion and there is no other God outside this religion. If you convert from Christianity to Islam there are no problems. They give you a job and an apartment. If you change from Islam to Christianity you have to die, you need to leave your house, your flat, your money, somebody will try to kill you. Islam is the religion of blood. We found Christianity the religion of love. Islam is very hard religion. The problem is that the Muslim do not accept any other religion. There are the rules written in Quran. If you are not a Muslim, you need to be die. Muslims want all people to become the Muslims. Everywhere where Muslims are, there are also troubles. They do not accept different people.
Q: Can you describe how the situation in the immigration camp in Sweden look like?
M: We didn't leave our room. Every day and night somebody would knock to our door and run away. Somebody would read the Quran in the front of our door. We faced a lot of discrimination in this camp, it was dangerous for us. I could not stay there. I felt that if we would stay one day longer in this camp, we would be killed. There were no cameras and the government does’t think about monitoring the camp. They were many Muslims from Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran which was a big problem for us.
In the camp there were many, many rooms, a hall and one kitchen. They gave 70 kr for me and 50 kr for Dina per day. It is hard to live from this. We could not use the kitchen because we were afraid. We needed to eat dry food. It was very cold. No one would listen to us, no one would help us. We talked to immigration offices but they did not listen. They should put the cameras and know what is happening to us during the night. I told the police that I am in danger. Police said that I need to go to immigration officers and immigration officers said we need to go to the Police. That was funny.
Q: What the government can do to improve your situation?
M: I would like to stay in Sweden and have somebody to protects us.
Q: What about Egyptian church in Sweden?
M: The church doesn't give us any help because they are afraid of the government of Egypt. They can’t help us because they worry that somebody may plant the bomb in church.
Q: What are your relation with the family and what they said when you decided to convert to Christianity?
M: Now they want to kill us. I had had a good relationship to my brothers but after I have changed to Christianity I became their enemy. I know that Islam is very tough religion. I love them. I have two brothers.
My father and my brothers put me in the dark room in the police station (Egyptian FBI). Thy said: ‘If you do not return in one week we will have to kill you.’ I ate bread and drunk water. I talked to Christ that I am tired. "I am believing in you but I am tired now”. Somehow the door opened and I could go out. I do not know the way but I found myself on the street and I could run away. My father and mother are dead now. My brothers are now my enemies, I can do so much now. My brothers very religious.
Q: How many Christian face the same difficulties as you in Egypt and in Europe?
M: In Egypt there are 6-7 millions, in Saudi Arabia maybe 10.000 people converted from Islam to Christianity. They did not allow to build even one church in Saudi Arabia. I know one girl who refused to change her mind and return to Islam and was killed by her father. How can we allow this people to do such things? After we converted from Islam to Christianity we lost our jobs, houses, families and somebody is trying to kill us.
Q: What has changed in your live after you decided to leave Islam?
M: I started to be nice and loving. Quran says that if anybody do something bad to you, you need to do the same in response. If somebody steals something you need to chop his hand. There are the Islamic rules.
I want to say something to the people of Europe: I’m warning you. Muslims are like the bombs. Everyone is a bomb. If they ask any of the Muslims here to stand up and fight, all will do that. The people who made the bombings in the underground in London were born in London and grew up in London, and they did it because they believe in Quran. Quran tells to kill the people. I am warning you. I think that Europe is in danger. I could see in France that police can no longer go to some places where Muslims live. This is very dangerous.
Do you remember the story of the Theo Van Gogh in Holland? He made a movie about Mohamed. This is crazy what happened to him. Somebody tried to kill us in Egypt. Somebody thrown chemicals on my daughter. I saw her burning. They are crazy people. We want mercy, we want somebody to execute the law, not just state it.
Q: What is important in your lives now?
M: I would like to have European passport and have a Swedish passport. I would like to say what Christ did for us, how he saved us and protected from danger.