The wife of Malak Ibrahim, who was among the 21 Egyptian Christians beheaded by Islamic State terrorists in Libya in February, has said she is proud of her husband's tremendous faith and refusal to deny Christ even in the face of death.
Mariam Farhat, 23, who lives in Al Aour village, about 150 miles south of Cairo, told CBN News that she "was very proud" that Ibrahim "stood firm in his faith and that he didn't deny Jesus."
"We were very sad for the first two days, but we hadn't seen the video," she said. "When we saw them in the video calling to Jesus we were very comforted."
In February, ISIS released a video showing its militants in Libya beheading the Egyptian Copts allegedly as an act of revenge "for the Muslim women persecuted by Coptic crusaders in Egypt." The five-minute video, titled: "A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross," shows the Copts mouthing words Ya Rab Yesua! or "Oh, Lord Jesus!" as their heads were being sawed from their bodies.
Since 2013, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has waged a brutal campaign across Northern Africa and throughout the Middle East, working to establish a caliphate, or a Sunni-led Islamic government.
In an attempt to rid the region of religions other than radical Islam, the jihadist group routinely targets Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities for persecution, killing them by stoning, beheading, hanging, and other violent means.
In addition to the beheading of the 21 Copts, the group released a propaganda video in April showing the beheadings of 30 Egyptian Christians, declaring that believers will "not have safety" until they convert to Islam.
According to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the group has executed 2,618 people, including 1,511 civilians, since last June. Over 464 executions were documented over the previous two months alone.
Like Mariam Farhat, Beshir Kamel, the brother of two slain Egyptians identified as Samuel and Bishoy, said he has forgiven the killers, and even thanked the militants for including the men's declaration of faith in the video they made of their beheadings.
"Since the Roman era, Christians have been martyred and have learned to handle everything that comes our way. This only makes us stronger in our faith because the Bible told us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us," Kamel said, adding that the courage of his brothers strengthened his own faith.
When asked what he would say if he were asked to forgive ISIS, he related what his mother said she would do if she saw one of the men who killed her son. "My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask [him] to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes because he was the reason her son entered the kingdom of heaven."
Invited to pray for his brothers' killers, Beshir prayed: "Dear God, please open their eyes to be saved and to quit their ignorance and the wrong teachings they were taught."