Middle East and North Africa

Widow of Egypt bomb attack victim forgives terrorist

Samira, the widow of Naseem Fahmi, the Egyptian Christian guard killed at St Mark’s Church in Egypt, one of the churches targeted in the Palm Sunday bomb attack, said she has forgiven the suicide bomber who killed her husband and 27 others at the church.

“I forgive you and I ask God to forgive you. I pray that God may open your eyes to light your minds,” the widow said.
“I am sure Naseem has been happy to give his life for Christ.”

Samira, a mother of two sons, wearing black in mourning declared, ‘When we talked about this one day he said that he would be willing to defend the Church with his own blood. Last Sunday he did. He told me that he knew me and the kids needed him, but that he also knew that God would take care of us if something might happen to us.’

Naseem, 54, was killed when he demanded that the suicide bomber passed through the metal detector as he attempted to walk into the church. The Jihadist detonated his bomb and Naseem was killed in the blast.

Naseem is said to have been a committed member of St Mark’s for over 20 years and is loved by many. His widow said, “Naseem’s life was at the church, and now his life is in heaven. I know he is in a good place.”

Samira said. “I am proud of what my husband did, but life has become hard for me after his death. He was everything in my life.”

The attack on St Mark’s, and the second at a church in Tanta, on Palm Sunday killed almost 50 people and injured over 100. ISIS in the Peninsular claimed responsibility for the attacks on the church.

In another development, following the attacks, the Egyptian President Al-Sisi, visited Coptic Pope Tawadros II, on Thursday, to offer condolences for the victims of the attacks. Al-Sisi’s visit was seen, by public commentators, as an attempt to contain the anger among Copts following the two suicide bombings.

The President assured Pope Tawadros II that, “State agencies were exerting their utmost effort to chase down the perpetrators of those vile acts.”
A statement from the government said President Al-Sisi had ordered the armed forces to rebuild the two bombed churches so that they will reopen for worship. The statement adds that Al-Sisi is determined to fight against terrorism, and is confident that Egyptians know those behind terrorism in the country whose intentions are to divide the nation and undermine its development.

Pope Tawadros II assured the President that terrorism would not succeed in dividing Egyptians. Harmony and love, he said, are the key elements ensuring safety in Egypt.

Pope Tawadros, meanwhile has moved his papal seat to the monastery at Wadi Natrun, known as the “political retreat” seat of popes following the attacks and has returned to Cairo in preparation for possible visit of Pope Francis later this month.

The Coptic Church and many other churches have cut back Easter celebrations to a single mass after the bombings. Pope Tawadros said, “Easter celebrations shouldn’t come at a time of offering condolences to our martyrs.”