62-year-old Coptic Christian tortured & executed by ISIS-linked group in Egypt

A 62-year-old Coptic Orthodox Christian was murdered by an ISIS-linked Islamist group in Egypt earlier this week after being kidnapped 5 months ago.

In a graphic video, the victim, Nabil Habashy Salama, can be seen being shot dead as he was kneeling in the desert in Egypt on April 18th, 2021.

According to the Coptic Archbishop of London, “Nabil’s crime was to build a church in North Sinai”. Reportedly Salama used his own financial resources to help build the city’s St. Mary’s Church.

The man’s son, Peter, alleged that the militants “tortured and humiliated” Salama, breaking his teeth before killing him in an attempt to make him “abandon his faith.”

“The ISIS militants used to contact me during the time when my father was kidnapped, and, though I knew he said this under pressure, he would say ‘All is fine, thank God.’

“He explained to me that the militants wanted to enforce the Jizya tax on the Christians.”

Jizya is an Islamic tax which is imposed on Jews and Christians in Muslim countries and has its origins in the Qu’ran and Hadith.

Peter said that his father “was kidnapped due to his efforts in building the church of St. Mary and St. Abanoub in Al Arish.

“He poured his heart and soul into this church, and always said to me ‘Do not think that I am building this church for here; I am building for myself a home in heaven.’

“In their efforts to have him abandon the faith, they humiliated my father, and broke all his teeth to torture him. Yet, through all this, he held on, and we are so joyful for him. We are currently telling our kids that their grandfather is now a saint in the highest places of heaven.”

Habashy – a businessman who owned a mobile phone and clothing store – was abducted by Islamic militants in front of his home in Bir-al-Abd in North Sinai in November of 2020. According to eyewitness accounts, he was subsequently beaten and forced into a stolen car before being taken away.

Sarah Bassil, communications manager for the human rights organisation In Defence of Christians (or IDC), told EWTN News that Habashy was active in his local parish and that his loss “is truly felt by the community.”

In a statement on his passing, the Coptic Orthodox Church called Habashy “a faithful son and servant” who “adhered to his religion until death.”

Bassil said that the Egyptian Copts – the largest Christian community in the Arab world – are denied many legal rights and face a growing threat of violence from Isamist extremists.

“Unfortunately this is the reality for the Coptic community in Egypt and IDC grows more and more worried about the situation,” she said.

Notably, during Palm Sunday of 2017, two Coptic Orthodox churches in northern Egypt were bombed by ISIS, killing at least 44 Christians and seriously injuring over 100.

So far, Egyptian security forces have captured or killed three of the Islamist militants responsible for Habashy’s death.

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