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News / Thoughts

Egypt: Christian man killed for being friends with a Muslim woman

June 20, 2022

Earlier this year, Rani Rafaat, a Christian man, was murdered in his shop in Egypt. The murderer later admitted in a video on YouTube that he killed him because Rani was friends with a Muslim woman on Facebook.

On the day of his death, Rani – a Christian and an agricultural teacher and agricultural shop owner from El Dabaa, a city on the north coast of Egypt – had gone to the nearby Mar Mina monastery with both of his parents.

“The 27 April started as a lovely day,” shares Rani’s father. “On the way back, he got a call from a customer; he needed something from his shop. We went with Rani to his shop, but he told us to go home, he would come home later. But he never came home again. Just after we arrived home, we received the call that he had been murdered.”

Rani’s aunt, who lives above Rani’s store, saw it all happen: “I saw three masked men with automatic weapons; they wore black clothes… They shot at Rani about 22 times. When they fled in their car, I heard them fire shots in the air in celebration, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ [‘God is the greatest’].”

Rani’s first attacker goes free

This wasn’t the first time Rani had been attacked. In December 2021, he was shot in the leg by a fellow citizen of El Dabaa, but he managed to escape before getting killed.

“The perpetrator was found quickly and arrested,” says Rani’s father. “He said he had shot my son because he had heard rumours of him being friends with Muslim women on Facebook and talking with them on Messenger.”

In Islam, a Muslim woman cannot marry a Christian man, and therefore even a friendship between them is frowned upon.

Rani and his family did not receive justice for this attack. The family of the perpetrator pressured them to drop the charges in a so-called reconciliation session, a traditional custom to settle conflicts. “They came to my house and told me that their family member suffered from a mental illness,” Rani’s father remembers. “They also said that they did not believe the rumours about my son befriending Muslim women. For our safety, we decided to drop the charges against the perpetrator.”

Rani’s Murderer admits to crime on YouTube

Even though Rani deleted his Facebook, switched his mobile phone number, and took a job in another city, the rumours were persistent enough for a group of men to murder him less than six months later.

On 14 May, a man admitted the murder in a YouTube video: “I killed the Christian young man in Dabaa and I swear God that I killed him. And I’m happy that I killed him. I killed him because I heard that he was friends with Muslim women… I never know him at all.”

Rani is buried in the family grave in Alexandria; he leaves behind his parents and two younger siblings. So far, no one has been arrested for his murder.

Please hold Rani’s family in your prayers as they grieve for him.

Pray now…

  • For Rani’s parents, siblings and wider family, that they will know God close to them, and that God will protect them
  • For justice; that Rani’s murderer will have a change of heart and turn himself in
  • That the Egyptian government and law enforcement will step up their protection and care for Egyptian Christians.

Four things you can do now:

1. Learn more and pray: Get our free glow-in-the-dark World Watch List Map and find out more about the places where faith costs the most. Get your map here…

2. Pray regularly: Every Monday night at 7pm we’ll be praying one prayer for one minute for the one in seven Christians around the world who face persecution. Set an alarm and tune in…

3. Choose to Lose: Raise money by getting sponsored to lose something you love for a short time. Sign up and we’ll send you a fundraising pack…

4. Send a message of hope: Imagine getting a letter from a Christian on the other side of the world who’d heard about you and was praying for you – encouraging right? Well, you can send encouragement now to young Christians facing persecution. Do that here now…

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