“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” – Matthew 5:43-44
Forgiving a friend is one thing. Forgiving your spouse’s cold-blooded killer on a nationally televised news program is another.
After losing her husband, Naseem, in Egypt’s Palm Sunday bombings, Samira Fahmi had every reason to despise ISIS. The terrorist group not only took the life of her partner in church on a holy day, but killed or injured more than 100 others in her Coptic Christian community.
Yet, when given an on-air opportunity to condemn Naseem’s attackers, Fahmi stunned all by pardoning the terrorists in a striking display of Christ-like forgiveness.
In a clip from Egypt’s ONTV news, the widow declared: “I am not angry at the one who did this. I am telling him, may God forgive you. You are not in your right mind… Believe me, I am not angry… And I ask the Lord to forgive them and let them try to think… May God forgive you and we also forgive you.”
As a reporter hugged Fahmi upon the conclusion of her remarks, Muslim TV host Amr Adeeb was visibly shaken. He paused for a pregnant 12 seconds, before blinking and declaring, “Egyptian Christians are made of steel! Egyptian Christians for hundreds of years are bearing many atrocities and disasters.”
“If your enemy knew how much forgiveness you have for them, he would not believe it,” Adeeb continued. “If it was my father, I could never say this! These people have so much forgiveness – this is their faith and religious conviction.”
Although Fahmi let her husband go with grace, she is still struggling with his death. “I am sure Naseem has been happy to give his life for Christ,” she said, according to Open Doors USA. “I am proud of what my husband did, but life has become hard for me after his death. He was everything in my life.”
Despite the newsworthy nature of the ONTV segment, no major media outlets covered the interview. Unfortunately, that’s not surprising from the liberal media, which has tended to downplay the slaughter of Christians at the hands of ISIS. The nets didn’t say “genocide” while reporting on the bombing. In fact, between January 2014 and June 2016, just six of 60 reports on Christian persecution in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia used the word “genocide.”
Hopefully, Pope Francis will attract media attention to the plight of Middle Eastern Christians during his current two-day stay in Egypt. According to Wall Street Journal Vatican correspondent Francis Rocca, the trip is intended to cover two main goals: “encouraging Christians” and “strengthening ties with the Muslim world.”
During his tour, Pope Francis will visit with Pope Tawadros II, the leader of Egypt’s Coptic Christian population and the largest group of Christians in the Middle East. He will also meet President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and speak at an international peace conference at Al-Azhar University, which Rocca noted to be the “most authoritative religious institution in the Sunni Muslim world.”