Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Child Abduction Warning

Meet Soraya. This is one of the last photos her mother has received after Soraya's father allegedly kidnapped her on May 10, 2011.

Soraya's mother, Peggy Dierich, tells the story of her daughter's kidnapping and the years that led up to this tumultuous event in her life.

Peggy first met Soraya's father, Mahmood Gaber, online in 2008. Their Internet communications grew into a romance, and Peggy agreed that it was time her and Mahmood meet in person. In 2009, Peggy left Germany and headed for Alexandria, Egypt, where she was to meet Mahmood for the first time and spend two weeks with him.

For many women living in Egypt, particularly those who live in touristic areas such as Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, what transpired next is not an altogether unusual story.

Peggy and Mahmood found themselves caught up in a whirlwind romance, and what was eventually meant to be a two week stay became a one-year period. During this time, Peggy got pregnant.

The details surrounding what happened next are a little hazy, Peggy was quoted as saying that she left because "it was not safe for an unmarried woman to be pregnant in Alexandria," whereas other sources claim the reason she left was that Mahmood was conscripted into the Army. Although the details as to why she left do matter, they are inconsequential to the grand scale of the story at hand here.

After leaving Egypt and returning to her home country Germany, Peggy gave birth to a daughter, Soraya, in January of 2010. Being born to a German parent ensured that Soraya was automatically a German citizen. Initially Mahmood expressed no interest in being a father.

Fastforward to 2011, Peggy was contacted and told that Mahmood was seeking a visa to come and visit his daughter in Germany. The visa process would have required that Peggy sponsor him during his stay, and would be responsible for him. It was a risk she did not want to take, so after a few phone calls it was decided that she would instead go to Egypt to visit Mahmood.

The initial plan was set. Peggy and Soraya would fly into Cairo on May 10, spend a day or two in Cairo, then fly onwards to the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to spend some time with Mahmood. He was even the one who had sent them the flight tickets.

"I had no reason not to trust him," Peggy says online. "It would be the first time for him to see his child."

Soraya and her mother were picked up from the airport on May 10, and were taken to where they were allegedly meant to stay in a hotel for the night. While Peggy was around the back end of the car to get her belongings, Mahmood jumped into the drivers seat and sped off with Soraya in the car, leaving her mother in the street with nothing more than the clothes on her back and her handbag.

After losing sight of the car, Peggy immediately went to the police station to report the crime. She notified the German embassy that her daughter, a German citizen, had been kidnapped.

Mahmood is originally from Alexandria. Police there conducted search raids in his home and a few areas around his home neighbourhood. They found no trace of Soraya.

Peggy has since been desperately searching for her child. Mahmood has intermittently been communicating with her via email, taunting her that "she will never see her child again," but that she can "contact him every Friday to find out if she is ok."

The below picture is one of the recent shots sent to Peggy. Initial reports indicate that this might be in the area of Marsa Matruh, to the west of Alexandria. If you know where this is, please contact me immediately.

Although Soraya's story is a tragic one, there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this. Soraya's story is not the first of its kind in Egypt, whereby a foreign woman falls in love with a local Egyptian man and is swept off of her feet in a Hollywood-esque love story.

That fantasy rarely lasts. The ratio of relationships that actually do work in crossing the cultural divide are few and far between.

It should also be noted that in Egypt, in cases of disputed custody over a child the law almost always favors the father. Thus, in the eyes of many Egyptians, Soraya was not in fact kidnapped, her father was merely assuming his custodial rights. Countless stories of women who have brought their children to visit their fathers in Egypt and end up with an alleged kidnapping exist.

I hope that Peggy and Soraya are reunited. I hope that the power of people on the Internet will effect change. And I hope that this story will serve as a reminder for women in the future that if you do "trust" your partner and plan to return to visit with the child, that you have all your back-up plans in place.

Peggy will now have to seek the services of a lawyer, who will face an uphill battle in proving that the mother should be given legal responsibility of the child. If Peggy were to merely show up and take Soraya with her, she may end up with an entirely new scope of problems to deal with as under Egyptian law, she would then have kidnapped her daughter from the father.

Please, share and post this story. If you have any information that may lead to the whereabouts of Soraya, post here or contact me.

For more information on Soraya's case, you can see here: (Links are in German)

Berlin Online

Bild [1]

Bild [2]

For an UPDATE to this story, please click here!


  1. I feel very sorry for this sad story and I wish Peggy the best of luck in her search. I thank also the blog for writing about this. However, it is important also to highlight that in many such rushed marriages/relationships, children get often abused and abducted. In many instances, the Egyptian father is the victim as well. This is not to defend the Egyptian father. I am an Egyptian woman myself and married to an Austrian and I know well that if my husband was mean, and if I did not know him well, and if he decided to kidnap my child, I would not even be able to get a visa and go search for them! Additionally, just to correct, the Islamic tradition and law actually gives custody to the mother, not the father till a teenage time. So, this is just to make sure that while we deeply help with this, we should not be promoting culturally biased opinions or experiences as a matter of fact. Radwa Rabie

  2. Very sad about this story! Soraya has her father name or not on her birth certificate ? did her mother and father legally married or married just with ''orfi contract'' ? it's very important for the lawsuit!

  3. This is tragic and my heart goes out to Soraya and her mother. I hope and pray that they will be reunited very soon xxx

  4. just for info: In Germany the nationality is passed on from the parents, not automatically by being born in Germany. That is differnt in the UK and US, where any baby automatically receives the nationality. Anyway Soraya is german, because her mother is german. The place of birth has no relevance at all. Best wishes for Peggy!!

  5. Thanks for that info! I have edited accordingly.

    Radwa - so very true and I thank you for bringing up that fact that Egyptian woman are also often the victims of such kidnappings.

  6. If they were not married and the child was born out of wedlock, the mother is the only caretaker according to islam.

  7. well, lets just hope and pray they are reunited soon,,, and the law takes her side... Islam is on her side since they are not married and if they where, she has custody to a certain age, so let's hope the law does something this time and helps a desperate mother out! even though there are many amazingly wicked Egyptian men out there, there are also a few, exceptionally good Egyptians in general, that will help out in anyway they can... a piece of advice... she should not marry him! even if he asks her to, she should say yes, but insist on getting her daughter 1st... get help close by and then dump him in the gutter and take her child back home... the moment she marries him, it's a living hell! he's already shown his true colors... all the best and our thoughts and prayers with them both... and let this be a lesson to women anywhere thinking they met mr. right over the internet anywhere! this is what usually happens when u get involved with any1, man or woman, from a 3rd world country...

  8. Women should really think before they decide to do such romances/flings, especially since this is such a common story for the past 20 years! Local man woos foreign woman and usually extorts for money.

  9. mainly agree with comment of radwa rabie. i know so many stories when the women were taking the kids outside of egypt and never came back although they had official marriage and were several years together. i pity those men who were left, but every story is unique and u cannot know and judge who is right and who is wrong... i hope that Soraya will have an opportunity to know her real mother and communicate with her and her father without borders and any limitations.

  10. hope you find soraya , my prayers are with you , i live in sharm and will keep a lookout for you , never give up hope god will take care of this and all will be well enshallah

  11. Best of luck getting your baby back.
    My son's buddy from school just got kidnapped by his non custodial father in Egypt,

  12. Please find here: http://egyptunbound.blogspot.com/2011/08/update-on-peggy-and-soraya.html

    an update to this story!

  13. My heart goes out to Peggy, for my sister and myself are in Egypt facing the same problem and the similar story. We have been working with the authority here in Egypt and the U.S. Embassy. My sister has custody of her son here in Egypt and the U.S. For everyone wants to say they want to raise there child in a good religious way, but how religious are they when they abduct a child from their own parent and the life they know. We pray for anyone that is faced with something like this.

  14. no more news about this kidnapping ? it will be nice to know what's happened since all these months.............

  15. I'd love to help Soraya's mom. I've been living in Egypt for more than 10 years now, married for almost 7 and unfortunately now I'm fighting to get my girls back too...Can just anyone explain to me the reasons why a man takes a child from his/her mother? Especially if all the years he doesn't give a **** about the children. If he knows that by law and by religion he has no right to do that. And i don't even want to mention the damage it might have on children.
    Radwa you are absolutely right...as per latest Egyptian law, custody of children belongs to mother until the age of 15 for both sexes. Then it's basically up to children with whom they want to stay.

  16. Jana I'm so sorry you are dealing with that heartache, I hope you can get the issue resolved soon for you and your daughters sake.

    And Anon, no, no recent news. The last information I received was that Peggy moved back to Germany to collect funding to return to Egypt. Haven't heard anything since.

  17. I have been read on Fb that Soray was reunited with mother. Can anybody tell me who found Soray police or some private investigator.Its very important for me this information becuase my son was kudnapped in Egypt and I need any good advice. Thank you

  18. I am an american father who's ex wife abducted our son to egypt. The mother is an american as well. I have not seen my son since 2005. This july my son will be 14, last time I saw him he was six. She is receiving child support checks every month thru the child support services, but I am unable to see or communicate with my son.

  19. Soraya is back to her mother....http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=soraya%20dierich&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CEoQtwIwBA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rtl.de%2Fcms%2Fsendungen%2Freal-life%2Fentfuehrt-gib-mir-mein-kind-zurueck-der-fall-soraya-2ba5e-ad7e-12-1457426.html&ei=D_SPUbiLPIzgtQaY94GwDA&usg=AFQjCNGfAdNDpUjFg72u062Bhuar9ido_w&bvm=bv.46340616,d.Yms

    1. Pls........................Help bring Princess home
      I am a Muslim American mother. the Egyptian father just kidnapped our 3yr old daughter to Egypt. Lawyers are telling me I would have the custody of Princess if I start court in Egypt, but would they let me leave with her back to the US?
      I am asking any parent or family member that is been through this tragedy to contact me.

  20. Your post has the information that is helpful and very informative. I would like you to keep up the good work. nice post