An Egyptian Coptic Christian businessman who was kidnapped by the Islamic State was just executed, Christianity Today reports.
The businessman, 62-year-old Nabil Habashi Salama, was well-known in his community for donating money to help build St. Mary Church in his home city of Bir al-Abd, on the Sinai Peninsula.
“We are telling our kids that their grandfather is now a saint in the highest places of heaven,” Peter Salama said of his father in a Twitter post.
“The ISIS militants used to contact me during the time when my father was kidnapped, and, though I knew he said this under pressure, he would say, ‘All is fine, thank God,'” Peter wrote. “He explained to me that the militants wanted to enforce the Jizya tax on the Christians and that he was kidnapped due to his efforts in building the church of St. Mary and St. Abanoub in Bir Al Abd.”
The Jizya tax is an extortion scheme where the Islamic State kidnaps people to force the community to pay them for protection. The Islamic State has particularly targeted Christians with this tax, hoping to humiliate them into subscribing to their radical religious views.
The church Nabil Salama contributed to was the only religious structure in the city, AsiaNews reports. The church reportedly stated they weep “for a son and a faithful servant,” who was executed by the Islamic State.
War with ISIS has been going on for years, and skirmishes intensified as Egyptian Security Forces and the army and police have banded together to crack down on jihadists. So far, 840 terrorists and 60 soldiers have been killed. Christians have also been part of the death toll, with at least seven Christian civilians killed. The Islamic State killed one Christian for simply having a cross tattoo on his wrist.
“They fired two shots on the ground near my leg and they asked me to leave and then they shot Bassem in the head. I could not believe what had happened to my brother. He fell to the ground in front of me and I could not do anything,” a witness to the murder of the Christian bearing a cross tattoo recalled, according to AsiaNews.