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Coptic Christian martyred for refusing to deny Christ

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A Coptic Christian father of two who was on a “kill list” and tracked for days by Islamic State militants in Sinai refused to renounce his faith in Christ when given a chance to “save” himself before being executed, his wife said.

The British news outlet The Sunday Times reports that the widow of 58-year-old Copt Bahgat Zakhar, one of eight Christians killed in the coastal town of Al Arish in just a three-week span in February, detailed the moment her husband met his fate.

Zakhar, who was a veterinary surgeon, was reportedly named on a jihadi “kill list” that was published online. As reported, jihadis have anonymously posted “kill lists” online that feature churches and prominent Christians across Egypt to target.

Zakhar’s widow, Fawzia, said in her interview with the Times that an eyewitness explained that when the militants arrived, Zakhar tried to shake their hands. They quickly forced him onto a concrete terrace, forced him to his knees and demanded that he convert to Islam.

“Repent, infidel. Convert and save yourself,” the witness recalled one of the jihadis saying.

According to the witness, Zakhar simply shook his head in refusal. The militants then responded by fatally shooting him and leaving him dead on the floor.

“They didn’t even run,” Fawzia Zakhar said.

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Deacon Greg Kandra
Headlines and Homilies
Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. For nearly three decades, he was a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to a variety of programs and was honored with every major award in broadcasting. Deacon Greg now serves as Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA.) He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York.
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