April 2013 – Majed El Shafie stood among the blackened, soot-covered remains of a small, burned house in Pakistan. Once, a happy Christian family of seven lived there. Then one night a mob of Muslims barred the doors, locking the family inside, and set it on fire. In his book Freedom Fighter: One Man’s Fight for One Free World, El Shafie writes:
I flew home from this mission with a heavy heart and a suitcase packed with the remains of a Bible that had been burned and some of the charred clothing the father had been wearing when the family had been burned alive… Standing at the actual scene, touching the charred remains of items these victims held dear and knowing they will never turn the pages of that Bible again – slaughtered as less than animals simply because they were Christians – the experience touches a deep place in your soul and alters your perspective on life.
Fighting for personal freedom
El Shafie was born into a prominent family in Cairo, Egypt. Following the family legacy, he went to Alexandria to study law. While there, he befriended a man named Tamir who gave him a Bible and introduced him to Jesus.
El Shafie then organized an underground congregation, worshipping in caves, that grew to include some 24,000 people. But it was when he used his knowledge of the law to fight for equal rights for Christians that the Egyptian government took note of him. He was kidnapped, tortured and beaten. His imprisonment culminated in his being tied to a cross for 56 hours. After his brutal torture, El Shafie was taken to a hospital where he escaped to Israel. With the help of several agencies, he was given political asylum and citizenship in Canada.
Once El Shafie entered Canada, he started working toward freeing those still living in danger because of their faith. He formed One Free World International to bring the suffering of Christians and others under religious persecution to light.
In his travels, he came across Neha and her family. Neha’s Christian family lived in a Muslim neighborhood in Pakistan. While her father was working one day, a Muslim man approached him, trying to convert him to Islam. After he refused, the man got angry and left. This man found two-and-a-half-year-old Neha and raped her in an attempt to convince her father to convert.
El Shafie heard this heartbreaking story and spent the next three years working to rescue the family from Pakistan. In 2009, he succeeded in securing Canadian citizenship for the family. The entire ordeal is chronicled in El Shafie’s book and in the documentary Freedom Fighter. (See below.)
Fighting for help
El Shafie doesn’t tell his story to gain fame. If anything, he has only brought more danger to his doorstep. He wrote the book and completed the documentary to tell the world about the pain suffered by worshipers of minority faiths across the world, including Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus. But he cannot fight this battle alone. He says:
Our fight is not a war with guns, tanks or missiles. Nor does it require specialized military training. Our weapons are words, ideas, keyboards and the Internet, and anyone concerned about truth and justice can enlist. Your rules of engagement consist of actions like informing yourself of what is happening; participating in letter-writing campaigns, demonstrations and boycotts; supporting organizations like OFWI that are on the front lines with your prayers and financial support; sponsoring refugees; voting for candidates who are willing to speak the truth and do something about these issues; and sharing what is going on with your friends and family and people whom you meet in your day-to-day routine.
Freedom Fighter book and DVD
Find more of Majed El Shafie’s story in the book Freedom Fighter: One Man’s Fight for One Free World, or on the DVD Freedom Fighter. Both are available at www.onefreeworldinternational.org and at online retailers.