Church leader declares 62-year-old victim a "new martyr."
The Egyptian branch of the Islamic State jihadist group has reportedly executed a Coptic Christian man who contributed to the building of the only church in his northern Sinai town.
ISIS posted a video Sunday of the execution on Telegram, and Coptic Pope Tawadros II declared that the man is a “new martyr” and therefore worthy of veneration as a saint.
The victim, Nabil Habashi Khadim, 62, was a local merchant in the northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abd who was kidnapped last November 8. His family was unable to pay the ransom that ISIS demanded — 5 million Egyptian Pounds, or about $318,000.
“In the video, one of the executioners belonging to the local Daesh cell (Arabic acronym for IS) explicitly accuses the man of having contributed, even financially, to the construction of the church [of the Madonna dell’Anba Karras] just before pulling the trigger and executing him,” AsiaNews reported. “The jihadist group also accuses the Church of ‘collaboration’ with the Egyptian army, police and secret services.”
In a statement, Pope Tawadros said that the Coptic Orthodox Church “weeps for a son and a faithful servant” who is now in Heaven for having “testified to his faith even to the sacrifice of blood.” He confirmed the support of the Coptic Orthodox community “for the efforts of the Egyptian state” to counter “these hateful acts of terrorism” and “to preserve our dear national unity” for a “future of peace and prosperity.”