The Reverend Franklin Graham is calling Christians to pray for believers who have fled Egypt’s North Sinai province after the Islamic State has targeted the group and killed at least seven people in recent weeks.
“Pray for the church in Egypt and throughout the Muslim world as they are being slaughtered mercilessly in many places,” he wrote on Facebook. “And share this with others who will pray!”
According to Reuters, 100 out of the 160 families in the North Sinai region left on Friday.
Their flight was prompted by a video released by the Islamic State earlier this week. The group vowed to step up attacks on the Christian minority in Sinai.
“They want to send a message that nobody is safe,” Mina Thabet, a worker with the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, told the Washington Post.
“I am not going to wait for death,” Rami Mina, who left Friday morning, told Reuters by telephone. “I shut down my restaurant and got out of there. These people are ruthless.”
A day earlier, a shopkeeper was killed in front of his pregnant wife and according to eyewitnesses the men then sat down and drank a soda and ate some chips.
“ISIS wants to exterminate them—wipe them out—because they bear the name of Christ,” Graham wrote.
So far, a teacher has been shot to death by a masked gunman, another man was beheaded and set on fire, and a plumber was shot dead in front of his wife and children at their home.
“Things were never this bad,” one man from El Arish told the Washington Post by phone. “They killed a couple of church leaders in the past, but the killings were far apart. Now we are told that are were making lists of all the Copts there.”
Christians are being killed for their faith around the world,” Graham said.
He added that believers would be praying for their persecuted brothers and sisters at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Washington D.C. in May.