“Repent, infidel. Convert to Islam and save yourself,” the witness recalled one of the jihadis saying.
A Coptic Christian father of two who was on a “kill list” and tracked for days by Islamic State militants in Sinai refused to renounce his faith in Christ when given a chance to “save” himself before being executed, his wife said.
The British news outlet The Sunday Times reports that the widow of 58-year-old Copt Bahgat Zakhar, one of eight Christians killed in the coastal town of Al Arish in just a three-week span in February, detailed the moment her husband met his fate.
Zakhar, who was a veterinary surgeon, was reportedly named on a jihadi “kill list” that was published online. As reported, jihadis have anonymously posted “kill lists” online that feature churches and prominent Christians across Egypt to target.
After days of trying to track down Zakhar, two militants with guns finally cornered him.
Zakhar’s widow, Fawzia, said in her interview with the Times that an eyewitness explained that when the militants arrived, Zakhar tried to shake their hands. They quickly forced him onto a concrete terrace, forced him to his knees and demanded that he convert to Islam.
“Repent, infidel. Convert and save yourself,” the witness recalled one of the jihadis saying.
According to the witness, Zakhar simply shook his head in refusal. The militants then responded by fatally shooting him and leaving him dead on the floor.
“They didn’t even run,” Fawzia Zakhar said.
Much like the hundreds of Christian families who have fled from their homes in the Northern Sinai region in recent months because of the increased persecution at the hands of radical extremists, Zakhar’s family is no different.
Fawzia Zakhar told The Times that she and her children have fled to another town.
Christian families who have fled from Al Arish have told rights activists that the Egyptian security forces have shown a level of apathy when it comes to protecting Christians and others in the Sinai region.
In February, Coptic Bishop Anba Angaelos issued a statement condemning the terror against Christians and others in Sinai and added that as many as 40 Copts had been killed in the previous three months. Last December, 29 people were killed and 47 injured by a bombing at a Christian church in Cairo claimed by IS.
In March, a 65-year-old Christian widow from Sinai told World Watch Monitor about how she witnessed IS terrorists kill her son and her husband. After they were finished murdering her loved ones, she explained that the militants asked her to identify the men they had killed. When she told them their names, she said one crossed their names off of a list.
In addition to kill lists, the IS affiliate in Egypt also released a video calling Christians their “favorite prey.”
In a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House on Monday, United States President Donald Trump vowed to support Egypt in its fight against terrorism.
“We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt,” Trump said to Sisi. “You have a great friend and ally in the United States and in me.”
Egypt currently ranks as the 21st worst nation in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List.