5) Philippines: Workers give their lives so as not to deny their faith
They were killed for not reciting the shahada, the Islamic profession of faith. Thus, eight Christians bore witness to their faith on the Philippine island of Mindanao.
Their martyrdom was confirmed by the investigation that the local authorities carried out after the barbarous act, perpetrated by terrorists of the Maute Group, also known as the Islamic State of Lanao, tied to the Islamic State (ISIS).
The Christians were construction workers who were traveling from Marawi to Iligan City, when they were detained by the terrorists. Their hands were tied, and they were offered a choice: to profess the Islamic faith and save their lives, or die.
The eight Filipinos didn’t hesitate, and entrusted their souls to the Lord. A gunshot was the last thing each of them heard before falling to the ground. Their bodies were abandoned in a ditch with a sign reading “Munafik,” which means traitor or liar.
Shortly before, the same terrorist group had kidnapped Filipino Catholic priest Teresito “Chito” Soganub (known as Fr. Chito) in the cathedral of Mary Help of Christians in Marawi, along with 23 Catholic lay people. Fr. Chito is well known in Mindanao for his work promoting dialogue between Christians and Muslims. The terrorists then burned the cathedral.The priest’s captivity, which lasted 117 days, ended thanks to an anti-terrorist operation by the Philippine army.