MAJED EL SHAFIE OF EGYPT
TORTURED FOR CHRIST
I was born into a highly respected non-Christian family in Cairo, Egypt. My father and brothers are legal advisors and my uncle works as a Supreme Court Judge. I was a law student myself.
“When you are born into a family like this, you have many books on law, justice and freedom.”
Majed began his testimony.
In my third year of law school in Alexandria, I was shocked to learn of the law against the construction of church buildings. And the law also prohibits renovating ancient church buildings. Egyptian Christians are treated worse than second-class citizens. Hit by this senseless intolerance, I began to ask questions about the religious teachings of my ancestors. “Why is there persecution against followers of Christian teachings, what are they really wrong ..?”
As a prospective law graduate and raised in a family that understands legal issues, I concluded, “There is evil politics trying to cover something up.”
The search for justice and truth began in my soul as a law student. Then I called my friend, Tamer. He was a Christian and I asked him the same question, “Tamer, why is there persecution of Christians in this country?”
Because he was afraid to break up our friendship because of my question, Tamer gave me his Bible. He said, “In this book, you can find answers to every question you want.” I immediately took it home.
When I first opened the Bible, the 8th chapter of the Gospel of John’s Gospel tells the story of how Jesus Christ handled the case of a woman caught in adultery. I found that the Bible is about justice, love, and forgiveness, more than just laws.
“This is the first time I have seen true forgiveness.” Since then, I decided to read the Bible along with the scriptures of my ancestral religion to compare the truths between the two. Almost a year after I first read the Bible, I decided to become a Christian, leaving the religion of my ancestors.
The first person I told was my best friend, Tamer.
I said, “Tamer, I now know what Christianity is. Christianity is not a religion. Christians do not go to church every week singing “Hallelujah,” “Blessed be YAHWEH, the God and Father of His only Son Jesus Christ,” and so on until next week. Christianity is a special relationship between humans and God. So I believe and want to accept Jesus into my heart.”
I finally became a Christian and started joining an underground church organization and thank God, we won 24,000 people in 2 years. Actually, this is an underground church because we worship in caves on the outskirts of Alexandria. While I was leading the underground church, I felt like I was standing in front of 2 Goliath monsters. The first is the law of unjust government. And the second was the teachings of the religion of my ancestors, which they used to justify the persecution of Christians in Egypt.
In 1998, early in the morning 5 soldiers and 2 policemen broke down the door of my house and took me to the police station for interrogation. The police tried to get information on the names of Christians I had contact with, but I refused.
Then the policeman threatened, “If you want to play hard, we can play hard!”
After that, I was taken to the Abu Za’abel Prison in Cairo, a place known in the Middle East as “Hell on Earth.” I was jailed on charges of stirring up a revolution, plus other charges, namely: trying to change the Egyptian religion from non-Christian to Christian and have worshiped and loved Jesus Christ the Savior.
At Abu Za’abal, my name and identity were changed, so that family and humanitarian organizations could not find me. This is a common practice of secret prison officers in Egypt. I was placed in the underground section. They tortured me 7 days in a row. Every day the level of torture got heavier.
On the first day, they asked me the names of my fellow Christians. I shut my mouth. So they shaved my head bald and rinsed it with hot water and then very cold water. However, I remained silent.
The second day, they hung me upside down, feet above head below. In this position I was beaten with a belt, burned with burning cigarettes and my toenails were plucked out with pliers. I still survived.
The third day, I was taken to a cell with all the scars on my body. They put 3 dogs in the prison cell. These dogs are ferocious beasts, trained to attack prisoners and eat their flesh. When I saw the 3 dogs being herded into the cell room, I went to the corner of the cell and sat there and covered my face with my hands waiting for the suffering that would come to me. The dogs got closer, but suddenly a miracle happened. I didn’t hear the dog’s voices. I didn’t understand what was going on. When I lifted my hands from my face to see what was going on, it turned out that the 3 dogs were just sitting around, even though their master forcefully ordered them to attack me. Not believing what they saw, they took the 3 dogs outside and asked their partner for another 3 dogs. It turned out that the miracle happened again and again. Even a dog came up to me and started licking me. They saw God’s miracle before their own eyes happen to me.
Fourth day: Officer number 27, a very tall man, entered the cell and said, “Listen, give the names of your friends and I will let you go. I’ll give you whatever you want, a big house, a new car, beautiful women! I’ll give!”
“I accept the offer!” I answered. “But first, I haven’t eaten for 3 days, bring some food and then we’ll talk.”
I got the food.
“Now you tell me the names of the people you work with,” the officer said.
“Listen, our group is very large. I can’t give all their names, and I can’t remember all of them myself. However, I will give the name of our Chairman to you. You can catch Him and He can give you the exact names of all the members.”
“Oh, I thought you were the leader.”
“No sir, I am just a servant.”
“OK, what is his name?”
“The name of our Chairman is Jesus Christ. If you can catch Him, just arrest Him.”
The guard was furious. He threw me against the wall and ordered his companions to take me to another room to be crucified. In the final humiliation, the guards tore my clothes, then tied my hands and feet and neck to a cross and left me hanging for two and a half days. At the end of the 2.5 days, they scratched my right shoulder with a knife, then put lime and salt on the shredded meat. I lost consciousness during the ordeal, and when I woke up I was already in the hospital.
When I woke up I was in so much pain. I was really thirsty at that moment. Then in the night vision, I saw the Lord Jesus come. He gave me a drink from His hand and said, “If you drink My water, you do not need any other water.”
It was a great spiritual experience for me. A week after the incident I fully recovered. A prison guard at the hospital informed me that tomorrow I would be executed. Knowing that, I decided to run away through the back window of the hospital. News of my escape immediately spread and the government announced a 100,000 dollar reward for my head. My face appeared on TV and in the newspapers. I knew that I couldn’t stay in Egypt anymore.
Riding a friend’s jet ski, I crossed the Red Sea, then crossed the Sinai Desert and surrendered to the Israelites. There I was detained for 16 months while the United Nations and Amnesty International investigated my case and in the end, I obtained political refugee status to immigrate to Toronto, Canada.
All this has changed my life. I will never give up..! Because I know a lot of people are going through the same thing that I experienced before. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Christians die for their faith and this is a fact ..!
To all governments that persecute Christians, I, Majed El Shafie, say: Christians who are persecuted to death and fall, they will keep smiling. Though they die and are in the deep earth, yet surely they hold the lamp of eternity THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. You can kill our leaders, but you will not kill our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE LORD GOD JESUS BLESS YOU.