Millions of Muslims All Throughout Egypt Are In Shock As Coptic Christians Publicly Forgive Their Muslim Tormentors

Tertullian once wrote that the “blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” This can be hard to believe today in a place like Egypt, where countless Christians have been and are being mercilessly slaughtered by Islamic terrorists.

In spite of all of the slaughter, the Coptic Christians have come out and been publicly forgiving their Muslim tormentors. This has sent shock waves throughout millions of Muslims in Egypt, who are amazed that the Christians still forgive in spite of all that has happened to them, leading one major Egyptian Muslims talk show host to say that the Copts are “made of steel”:

Twelve seconds of silence is an awkward eternity on television. Amr Adeeb, perhaps the most prominent talk show host in Egypt, leaned forward as he searched for a response.

“The Copts of Egypt … are made of … steel!” he finally uttered.

Moments earlier, Adeeb was watching a colleague in a simple home in Alexandria speak with the widow of Naseem Faheem, the guard at St. Mark’s Cathedral in the seaside Mediterranean city.

On Palm Sunday, the guard had redirected a suicide bomber through the perimeter metal detector, where the terrorist detonated. Likely the first to die in the blast, Faheem saved the lives of dozens inside the church.

“I’m not angry at the one who did this,” said his wife, children by her side. “I’m telling him, ‘May God forgive you, and we also forgive you. Believe me, we forgive you.’

“‘You put my husband in a place I couldn’t have dreamed of.’”

Stunned, Adeeb stammered about Copts bearing atrocities over hundreds of years, but couldn’t escape the central scandal.

“How great is this forgiveness you have!” his voice cracked. “If it were my father, I could never say this. But this is their faith and religious conviction.”

Millions marveled with him across the airwaves of Egypt.

So also did millions of Copts, recently rediscovering their ancient heritage, according to Ramez Atallah, president of the Bible Society of Egypt which subtitled and recirculated the satellite TV clip.

“In the history and culture of the Copts, there is much taught about martyrdom,” he told CT. “But until Libya, it was only in the textbooks—though deeply ingrained.”

The Islamic State in Libya kidnapped and beheaded 21 mostly Coptic Christians in February 2015. CT previously reported the message of forgiveness issued by their families and the witness it provided.

“Since then, there has been a paradigm shift,” said Atallah. “Our ancestors lived and believed this message, but we never had to.”

Copts date their liturgical calendar from 284 AD, the beginning of the Roman persecution under Diocletian. Troubles with pagan and Muslim rulers have ebbed and flowed over time, but in his Easter message Pope Tawadros lauded the Coptic Orthodox as a “church of the martyrs.”

This history returned with a vengeance in 2010, when the Two Saints Church in Alexandria was bombed on New Year’s Eve. Copts poured out into the streets in anger, presaging the Arab Spring. In the months that followed, Muslims rallied around them and defended their churches.

Nearly seven years later, the nation has grown weary. The Palm Sunday twin suicide bombings killed more than 45 people and are the second ISIS attack on Christian sanctuaries in five months. Twenty-nine people were killed in a suicide bombing at the papal cathedral in Cairo in December. This week, ISIS attacked the famous St. Catherine’s monastery on the southern Sinai peninsula. (source)

This is why as God is love, mercy is perfectly balanced with justice. Never forget that while Islam must be combated with the force of arms, the battle is ultimately for the souls of men and that there are many good, honest Muslim people who seek truth and that likewise Christ wants to disciple into His kingdom even though they do not know Him yet. While it is sad that many Christians have suffered and died at the hands of Muslims, their deaths were not in vain, for not only if they died in Christ they shall surely live again, but their deaths will be used by God to lead to the salvation of others, including the people who tormented them. Just ask St. Paul.

The Conversion of St. Paul On the Way To Damascus by Caravaggio. Remember that St. Paul was in his time like the Muslim murderers of our own days, hunting down Christians and slaughtering them. Surely he conversion was affected by the shedding of the blood of the martyrs, and he went on to become a great saint. He is a lesson for all, reminding that while evils such as Islam must be combated militarily, never to forsake or abandon mercy, for God desires that even the most evil be saved if they so want to.

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  • No words to express my thought about the courageous witnessing of the Coptic.

  • filomena seiffert

    They are not made of steel, they are made of love, the most strong force , the one that endures, the best fountain in the universe

  • luis

    I get blown away by how middle eastern Christians respond to these tragedies. They are much better then I am and deserve the reward coming to them

  • Kamau41

    What amazing witness our Coptic Christian Brothers/Sisters truly are as they demonstrate they are made of ‘steel’. They will be rewarded.

    We must always remember as you consistently point out, “This is why as God is love, mercy is perfectly balanced with justice.”

  • Indian Christian Crusader

    It is great. However, it does not absolve Al-Sisi from using the state authorities to stop the evil doers as commanded in Romans 13:4 and protect the innocent. Egyptian police and soldiers must do more to protect the innocent.

  • Julie LaBrecque

    Forgiveness creates a dynamo of its own – St. Stephen prayed that God forgive his
    murderers – through this noble and divine act, Paul has his reckoning with the
    Lord. St. Maria Goretti forgives her assailant – years later, he is converted while serving his prison term for murdering this precious 11 yr old – he attends her canonization ( I believe by Pope Pius XII) – Allesandro Serenelli then spends the remainder of his life working as a gardener at a monastery.

    • Kamau41

      Thank you for sharing. Forgiveness is truly powerful far beyond human comprehension.

  • jami

    What a wonderful comparison with the Copt’s and St. Paul. Mercy is always good before Justice. Hard to do. It belongs to the Godly. I try to show Mercy people get more arrogant. I Forgive they remind me . I receive Mercy loads of times. Dunno why it’s so hard to give away. And when you give up people say here in Europe, du muss veil kamphen means you should keep fighting. Mercy flows in my heart for those who have wronged me but then I don’t wana deal with them and if they have to deal with me I wana just bash dem up. Forgive me Papa Jesus. Help me to be more Mercifully like this Coptic Woman from Egypt

  • Filip

    It really wakes up a lot of muslims.. How can these people forgive even the most heinous of acts… and it pushes them to want to learn more about Christianity…

  • susan

    I can see more and more why scripture says Jesus is coming to save the Copts one day. This is also where Joseph fled with his little family.

  • Grace Ziem

    This is the importance of the witness of love even during persecution; people are weon to Christ and can gain eternal life. This has always been the path of Christ, the apostles and Christ’s followers.
    The “armor of God” is ALL defensive; even the “sword” is the Word of God.
    Ephesians 6:13-17 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

    • Grace Ziem

      We do NOT believe “faith is enough”; faith MEANS following Christ and faith without works is dead. Christ is clear on how vital are actions: John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” .

  • Grace Ziem

    We do NOT believe “faith is enough”; faith MEANS following Christ and faith without works is dead. Christ is clear on how vital are actions: John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” .

  • I agree. At times I run into Evangelicals that have more faith and obedience than many Catholics I meet.

    But what is still lacking is understanding the Sacraments.

    • Michelle Therese

      I’ve learned the hard way that yes, we can become Catholics. But if we try to ACT like Catholics, our fellow…. Catholics(!!) will rip us to shreds. They have more hate for fellow Catholics then even Seculars have for Catholics! It is insane!

      Thankfully I am too stubborn to allow myself to be bullied into behaving like a Secular… but it really was a major shock after I joined the Church, to see how much raw seething HATE there is from so many Liberal/Secularized Catholics!

  • You speak wisdom frank.

  • Grace Ziem

    Just in case people think God isn’t as active with miracles, I wanted to share that Lions (yes, lions!) saved a pastor and others from Islamic attackers recently:

    A pastor who is ministering in the Middle East was reportedly saved by lions who prevented a group of Islamic extremists from attacking him and a group of Christians.

    Pastor Paul Ciniraj’s story seems like a story straight out of the Bible. Pastor Paul detailed the modern-day miracle on his ministry’s website.

    “My risen Lord Jesus Christ has saved my life once again,” Pastor Paul wrote, “and I praise and thank God for His unspeakable grace!”

    Before the attack when the lion saved him, Pastor Paul had been attacked by another group of Islamic extremists. He had escaped and was recovering at the home of a former Muslim who was a Christian convert. The man’s home was near a forest area.

    Pastor Paul led worship services there. On Easter Sunday, while a group of believers was gathered and he was leading one such service, militants came upon them, brandishing weapons.

    “We had no idea what to do,” Pastor Paul recalled. The group of Christians thought they were all about to die.

    Just then, a lion appeared out of the forest and began to attack one of the militants. The other two militants tried to fight the lion off, but then two more lions appeared. The militants ran away in fear and the lions left Pastor Paul and his group alone.

    “Equally astonishing,” Pastor Paul added, “records show no lions are supposed to live in that forest.”

  • Grace Ziem

    At the risk of being bashed, I reflect on Christ’s admonition: “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Mt 25:62)
    In the discussion of the armor of God, all “weapons” are defensive; even the “sword” is the Word of God. I think Christ wants us to show His amazing love, which is to give life but not take it. It seems contradictory but I think He focuses on ETERNITY, not whether we/they live longer in this life. Something to reflect on…Blessings!!

    • There is a time to use the sword and a time to keep it in the scabbard.

      Jesus being arrested wasn’t those time to use the sword.

      • susan

        Exactly!

      • Grace Ziem

        I don’t recall Him saying to any followers to kill, nor do I recall disciples teaching this. We are in awe of the Coptic Christians because their love won many Muslims to Christ. This is an eternity in paradise for people who would otherwise have gone to hell, frankly.
        If we kill, we may prolong our time on earth but delay our leaving for eternity AND win fewer souls to Christ and FEWER SOULS FOR ETERNAL LIFE.
        I don’t condemn those who are afraid and defend themselves; please don’t critique me if I chose differently because I try to follow Christ all the way. (I am also 73, maybe it’s easier now). Blessings to you; this is hard stuff, friend!

        • Let’s think about it.

          Just a few verses back, Christ told the disciples to buy swords and if they didn’t have one to sell their cloak and buy a sword.

          Fast forward to Christ’s arrest what happened? Was He hit with amnesia?

          No. The disciples and He were surrounded by professional trained Roman soldiers who would kill with prejudice, and they were ready to do so. After all, they had already had to put down a rebellion in Israel before Christ was born.

          There were tensions in the air. Everything hung in the balance on what Christ would do in that moment. Instead of summoning angels who were more than ready, Christ knew all must be fulfilled and instructed Peter to put the sword back in its place.

          He reminded Peter that He had to do this.

          Again, there is time to use the sword and time to leave it in the holster.

          • Grace Ziem

            Christ never had amnesia. But He never told them to use the weapons. He knew they would have more courage with protection, and they needed courage to stand up to Christ’s message. But they NEVER used those weapons. They retained their freedom, so their choice to not kill was not a forced choice, it was true freedom!

          • You don’t get it as usual. That’s why you are Protestant.

          • Grace Ziem

            What I get is that some Catholics (and some protestants) dislike it when everyone doesn’t agree; they feel the need to insult those who disagree. Sorry you feel that way, but I will pray for you, because I think Christ loves you. Blessings.

          • Then you need to toughen up.

          • Grace Ziem

            I feel I am ready to do this if I need to. Christ was/is both kind and courageous. He is my role model. He will never leave me.

          • Then you shouldn’t have a problem with being confrontational which is what the Church needs today. Preachers who preach with fire shooting out of their mouth!

            Christ confronted with harsh words and made no apologies for it. He called spade a spade. You want the sweet, gentle Jesus but I want the other side of His, the roaring Lion of the Tribe of Judah who has never lost a fight He was in. Christ disciplined Sodom and Gomorrah by stoning them with brimstones and fire. Christ called Israel a harlot for going after foreign gods.

            Christ called Peter Satan for trying to block Him from doing His mission. Christ rebuked His disciples for their unbelief.

            When Christ returns, He is going to return with blazing glory and the Church will join Him with all of creation to DESTROY every evil and enemies of the Faith.

            It’s why on earth we are called Church Miltant while the saints in heaven is called Church Triumphant.

            The problem with Christians in America is they are the weepy kind, afraid to speak up and be bold as a lion while being gentle as a dove.

            Again, there is a time to use the sword and time to keep the sword in the holster.

          • Grace Ziem

            Trevor, there is a problem with judging people you don’t know. God called me to be a physician to help the neglected when I was 14. For 48 years I have cared for victims of toxic exposures, and when needed, confronting the corporate entities that perpetuated this abuse. Like my colleagues who did this, I have faced not-so-subtle death threats and have been outspoken about human rights of many kinds. I am kind to those who need kindness, and assertive when they need that.

            This has repeatedly been like living as a soldier of Christ; and then when I try to speak kindly to you, I am treated with the assumption I am a no body. You lack basic humility, sir, and I hope Christ doesn’t feel He needs to teach you that.

          • “You lack basic humility, sir, and I hope Christ doesn’t feel He needs to teach you that.”

            Now who is judging?