Islamist Gunmen Forced Egyptian Christians to Recite Muslim Prayer Before Execution, Survivors Say
Islamist gunmen who murdered at least 26 Christians traveling on a bus on Friday in central Egypt forced their victims to recite the Muslim declaration of faith before executing them, according to reports from survivors circulated on social media.
Samuel Tadros — a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and the author of an authoritative book on Egypt’s Coptic Christians — drew attention on Twitter to a video in which a distraught survivor related her account of the attack.
“Terrorists asked Copts to recite Shehada (Muslim declaration of faith) before shooting them,” Tadros explained.
The Christian travelers were on their way in a small convoy to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, about 90 minutes south of Cairo, when they were attacked by between 8 and 10 assailants. The gunmen fled in three 4×4 vehicles at the end of the atrocity.
Minya Province Bishop Makarios said many of the victims were shot at point-blank range.
Christians in Egypt have endured several years of terrorist attacks by Islamist groups, including ISIS.
Two suicide bombings at Palm Sunday services at churches in the northern cities of Alexandria and Tanta on April 9 left 46 people dead.
Another suicide bombing at a church in the capital in December 2016 killed 29 people, while a Christian community was forced to flee the town of el-Arish in the northern Sinai peninsula after a series of gun attacks in February.
Israel was among the countries that strongly condemned Friday’s outrage.
“There is no difference between the terror of the attack in Egypt and that of attacks in other countries,” a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said. “Terror will be defeated more quickly if all countries work together against it.”