Widow Forgives Killers in Palm Sunday Massacre

St. Mark's Cathedral, Alexandria, Egypt

St. Mark’s Cathedral, Alexandria, Egypt

The widow of a man who was killed during the deadly Palm Sunday terrorist attacks in Egypt on Palm Sunday has publicly forgiven the perpetrators of the bombing.

Breitbart is reporting on an interview aired on Egyptian television of a widow of one of the 44 people who were killed in twin suicide attacks that struck St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria and St. George’s church in the Nile Delta city of Tanta.

In the interview, the widow addressed the perpetrators of the attack, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility, saying, “You took my husband, the father of my children, but I forgive you. I ask that God forgive you as well. My husband is gone. You put my husband in a place that I didn’t want him to be in and I very much want to be next to him.

“I’ll say just one thing to you, to those who did this, those who have been led astray, think about what you’re doing, think again, think about your actions. We didn’t do anything to you. When I say that I forgive you, believe me, I really forgive you.”

The host of the show, Amr Adeeb, later commented: “The Copts of Egypt are made of steel. For hundreds of years they’ve suffered. The Egyptian Copts love their homeland immensely and they suffer for their homeland – such power, such great tolerance and forgiveness.

“If your enemies knew how tolerant and conciliatory you were, they wouldn’t believe it. If my father had done this I wouldn’t forgive him. These people (the Copts) are made of something else. They have tolerance that is the product of very strong belief.”

Pope Tawadros II

Pope Tawadros II

Their faith was indeed tested on April 9 in the attacks which occurred about two hours apart when the faithful were celebrating Palm Sunday.

The first explosion, at St. George’s, occurred after a suicide bomber managed to slip past security measures and blew himself up near the altar. The blast killed 27 people, including children, their parents, deacons, and lay Christians who were helping with the service. Another 78 were reportedly injured.

Afterward, Father Daniel Maher, stood alongside other grieving family members outside the city morgue while waiting to identify and collect the remains of his son, Bishoy, who was to be married later this year. The priest, who was still wearing his bloodstained white garments, said with sorrow shaking in his voice, “What can I say? Thank God.”

The second blast occurred about two hours later at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria where Coptic patriarch Pope Tawadros II was leading a Palm Sunday service inside. Surveillance footage revealed a man wearing a bulky jacket being directed into a metal detector at the church gates. Just as he was pausing to be searched by a police officer, he detonated his vest, causing a huge blast that killed 17 people and left 48 wounded.

Christians around the world immediately rallied around their Egyptian brothers and sisters.

At the conclusion of his Palm Sunday homily, Pope Francis prayed for both the victims and those who perpetrated the violence.

“I pray for the dead and the victims,” he said. “May the Lord convert the hearts of people who sow terror, violence and death and even the hearts of those who produce and traffic in weapons.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed solidarity with the fallen. “ . . . [A]s Christians began the celebration of the holiest week of the year, our brothers and sisters in Egypt suffered unspeakable persecution. They were at Church. They were praying. And in the midst of what should be peace, horrible violence yet again. I express our deepest sadness at the loss of those killed, our prayers for healing for all those injured, and our condolences to those who suffer the loss of loved ones.”

President Donald Trump joined in the international condemnation of the church bombings saying that the U.S condemns the attacks and has great confidence in Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to “handle the situation properly.”

The faithful also reached out on social media, offering prayers and condolences to those involved in the attacks as well as to persecuted Christians worldwide.

As one man named Tom quoted on Twitter: “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

May all of those innocent souls who lost their lives that day enjoy this promise of Christ for all eternity.

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