“Tied Up and Tortured”: The Persecution of Christians, April 2021
In a video released on April 17, Muslims connected to the Islamic State in Sinai executed 62-year-old Nabil Habashi Salama, a Christian. Salama appears on his knees in the video, with three men holding rifles standing behind him. The one in the middle launches into a typical jihadi diatribe: “All praise to Allah, who ordered his slaves [Muslims] to fight and who assigned humiliation onto the infidels” — pointing contemptuously at the kneeling Christian before him — “until they pay the jizya while feeling utterly subdued.” The words are a paraphrasing of Koran 9:29, which commands Muslims to “fight the people of the book,” understood as meaning Christians and Jews, “until they pay the jizya (monetary tribute) with willing submissiveness and feel themselves utterly subdued.”
The middle speaker continued by threatening “all the crusaders of the world” — a reference to Christians in the West — while singling out the countrymen of the one about to be slain: “as for you Christians of Egypt, this is the price of your support for the Egyptian army.” The speaker then points his rifle at the back of the Christian’s head — as chants of “jihad! jihad! jihad!” blare out — and fires at point-blank range, killing him.
It is unclear when the video was made — Salama was abducted at gunpoint over five months earlier for helping to build the only church in the area. “He kept the faith till the moment he was killed,” the group Sinai Province said of the slain Copt in a statement. During the months of his captivity, several Egyptian activists accused the authorities of indifference in not being able to locate and secure the release of Salama, which they say could easily have been done. Ironically, the Egyptian government issued a statement the day after the video was released saying that they had located and killed the same three terrorists that had executed the Copt—without offering any specifics. The claim was met with skepticism.
In a separate but similar incident, Muslim herdsmen attacked the congregation of an Anglican church; eight people were killed and four women abducted. “The abduction of the Anglican Church members,” the April 7 report adds, “came 12 days after their counterparts from the Redeemed Christian Church of God were abducted on the same road.