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Martin Himel

Majed EL Shafie


by David Square, posted here April 1, 2012

The much ballyhooed Arab Spring has become a cold winter of discontent for Christians living in many parts of the Middle East.
A newly released documentary titled “Persecuted Christians” by Israeli/Canadian filmmaker Martin Himel reveals how Christians in Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan are being imprisoned, tortured, raped and murdered for refusing to forsake their religion for Islam.
Featured in the film is Rev. Majed El Shafie who was born into a Muslim family but converted to Christianity.
He was subsequently tortured and condemned to death for being a Christian activist in Egypt.
“They cut deeply into my back with lawn shears and rubbed salt into the wounds,” El Shafie narrates. “Next I was crucified for two days on a piece of wood shaped like a cross.”
He escaped and hid in the desert among a Bedouin tribe.
After spending a year and a half in Israel, he received religious asylum in Canada, settling in Toronto.  
His torture and near execution in Egypt inspired him to found Toronto-based One Free World International, El Safie Ministries, the largest human rights organization in Egypt with about 24,000 followers.
He currently has fatwas issued against him by clerics within Egypt, Pakistan and Al-Qaida.
El Safie teamed with Himel to produce “Persecuted Christians,” screened March 25 at Faith Temple in Winnipeg by Rev. Rudy Fidel and wife Gina.  
The documentary denotes numerous atrocities perpetrated by Muslims against Christians, including the burning of churches.
In 2008, Rami Attiah, an Egyptian, was summoned for interrogation by police because his father-in-law was a Christian activist and the authorities wanted to punish the family.
Rami and his wife Christine were wealthy and had a thriving business and children.
Cigarettes and other instruments were used to burn deep holes in his back and other parts of his body.
“Finally, they hanged me upside down, continued to burn my flesh, cut me with knives and told me my wife, pregnant with a second child, would be tortured if my father-in-law didn’t confess,” relates Rami.
El Safie’s team persuaded Canadian authorities to issue emergency visas; Rami and Christine fled, leaving everything behind.
But the torture had left an indelible scar on Rami’s psyche.
He ended up in a Toronto mental hospital taking multiple medications for depression and anxiety.
Four years later, he still has not fully recovered from his ordeal.
Also featured in the documentary is Chantal Deslogis, a Canadian immigration lawyer who works pro bono on cases such as Rami and Chritine’s.
“It’s a vocation, a higher calling, my work is my ministry,” she said.
Present at the screening was Anna-Lee Chiprout, International Communications Director for One Free World International in Ottawa.  
Chiprout told the audience at the end of the film that there is an escalation of antisemitism throughout the world, as made apparent by the recent killing of a Rabbi and three children in Toulouse, France by an Islamo-fascist
She warned that the Arab Spring is actually a Cold Winter for Christians throughout the Muslim world because fanatic Islamic organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists are taking control of Arab countries.
 The Islamists want to implement fundamentalist Sharia laws that recognize the rights of Muslims only.
They consider all other peoples as dhimmis and their religions as false, she said.
“People in the West should realize that the enemy is not at the gate, it’s within the gate,” Chiprout said.

More information about “Persecuted Christians” and “The Freedom Fighter” (a OFWI winner of three international awards) is available by contacting     [email protected]

[Editor's note: To see a video of Martin Himel speaking about the documentary, click here:  ]

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