Egyptian Christian Shot For His Cross Tattoo
The Coptic cross is a tattoo many believers in Egypt get as a permanent reminder, and public declaration, of their faith.
Bassem was on his way home from work on 13 January, with his brother Osama, and neighbour Mohamed. Armed men stopped them and checked their wrists. When they saw Bassem’s cross tattoo they asked if he was a Christian.
“Yes, I am a Christian,” he answered.
The men asked Mohamed to show them his wrist as well. He had no tattoo and was allowed to leave. Osama’s cross was also hidden beneath his sleeve.
Image: An Egyptian boy showing his cross tattoo.
They fired shots at Osama’s feet and told him to leave.
“And then they shot Bassem in the head,” Osama said. “I could not believe what happened to my brother. He fell on the ground in front of me and I was unable to do anything.”
Osama ran to find help. His legs gave way because of the shock. Their mother fainted when she heard the news.
When Bassem’s close friend discovered what happened, he called Bassem’s phone.
“The terrorists answered me and promised to kill more Copts,” he said.
This attack was part of a string of killings in Egypt where Christians have been targeted by Islamic extremists. Last year a woman’s husband and son were shot by a man who ticked their names off an Islamic State hit-list.
“We lost a person dear to our hearts,” Osama said. “My brother Bassem was a very good and kind man. He had a strong relationship with God. He was always reading in the Bible, praying and going to the church. He was loved by all people.”
“Bassem was a very good man,” his friend said. “He didn’t renounce the faith and didn’t deny his Lord Jesus Christ. He didn't fear death. Actually, he didn't die but has won the real life in Heaven, enjoying being with Jesus. We pray that God will comfort us [and] thank God for saving the life of Osama, to care for his five children and his parents."