EGYPT: “Yes, I Am a Christian”

Source: Open Doors, January 21, 2018

“Are you Christian?”

The 27-year-old husband and father of five Bassem Herz Attalhah didn’t hesitate to answer.

“Yes, I am Christian,” he told his attackers and then immediately proclaimed his faith a second time in a loud voice: “Yes, I am Christian.”

Bassem was on his way home from work in El-Arish, where he and his brother, Osama, had opened a mobile phone shop. He was with Osama and their neighbor and friend Mohamed when three men stopped them and asked Bassem to show them the wrist of his right hand (Coptic Christians wear a small black tattoo of a cross on their right wrist—a visible reminder and sign of their faith and also a form of identification since many churches station security at their doors to check that those entering are Christians).

When the men saw the tattoo of the cross, they asked Bassem the fatal question. The men then asked Mohamed his name and made him show his wrist. When they saw he had no tattoo, he was allowed to leave. Then they turned to Osama.

“Bassem told them that I had children,” Osama recalls. “They asked me to show them the wrist of my right hand and, when they didn’t see any cross, they thought that I was Muslim.” (The men didn’t see the cross that Osama has tattooed on the top of his hand, hidden by his sleeve.)

“We lost a person dear to our hearts,” Osama said. “My brother Bassem was a very good and kind man. He had a strong relationship with God. He was always reading in the Bible, praying, and going to the church. He was loved by all people.”

When Bassem’s close friend Milad Wasfi heard he had been killed, he couldn’t believe it and called his friend’s phone. His call was answered, but not by his friend.

“The terrorists answered me and said they belong to State of Sinai and promised to kill more Copts before they put down the phone,” he told World Watch Monitor.

» Full story includes a prayer for the Christians of Egypt and says the war on Christianity in Egypt is intensifying. In 2017, 130 Christians were reportedly killed for their faith.

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