An ex-Muslim pastor has detailed the staggering price he paid for following Jesus after being extensively tortured in an Egyptian prison.
The Rev. Majed El Shafie was held in Cairo’s notorious Abu Zabal Prison for seven days in 1998 when he was the leader of a 24,000-member Christian organization. Despite the continued pressure put upon him by the prison guards to give up the names of his fellow leaders, Shafie refused, and he paid for it. Shafie endured brutal beatings from the guards, who were desperate to turn him against his brothers in Christ.
But just as the pastor was on the verge of being sentenced to death, he embarked on a daring escape which would end up saving his life. Using a jet-powered watercraft to flee to Israel, Shafie was subsequently granted asylum in Canada, where he set up a human rights organization that aims to help others who face persecution.
Last week, Shafie attended the inaugural Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C., where he shared his harrowing story.
“I was taken to the prison for seven days torture,” the 40-year-old explained, as reported by The Christian Post. “They started by shaving my hair off my head, putting my head in buckets of cold and hot water, hanging me upside down. On the third day, they released dogs to attack me but the dogs didn’t attack. After that, they crucified me for two days and a half.”
The man at the helm of the One Free World International (OFWI) organization recalled having his hands tied to a cross.
“They made a cut on the back of my left shoulder to the bones and they rubbed salt in my open wound. I almost died,” he noted. “I was in the police hospital for three months. They didn’t want me to die right away because that would have made me a martyr. What they do is they destroy your reputation first.”
Shafie also described his dramatic escape on a jet ski.
“Egypt is surrounded by other Muslim countries. You go to any of them, you face the same situation,” he explained. “The only way was to escape to Israel. So I stole jet ski and crossed from Taba to Eilat.”
The pastor revealed how he almost triggered a fierce gun battle between Egypt and Israel, which may have resulted in full-on war.
“I waited until 5:50 p.m. with the sun behind me. Whoever looking at you would be blinded for a few seconds or two. I just bolted between the two boats. When I bolted between the two boats, the Egyptians and the Israelis aimed at me but that was when they realized that they were actually aiming at each other. That is called crossfire,” Shafie detailed.
“The last thing they want to do is start a new war in the Middle East just because of a guy crossing on a jet ski,” he continued. “Now when you go to Sinai and you go to the same point where I escaped, the boats do not stand against each other anymore. That is because my escape. They changed the whole system because of that.”
Shafie said that, following his staggering ordeal, he was determined to help those who were experiencing a similar level of religious persecution.
“I started One Free World International,” he said. “I started to defend people that used to be in the same position like myself.”
According to OFWI’s website, Shafie’s organization’s core mission involves “conducting daring rescue missions, building bridges between communities, advocating for persecuted minorities to governments around the world, and raising awareness about those who are persecuted for their beliefs through media, events, and online.”
(H/T: The Christian Post)