Every three minutes a Christian is being tortured in the Muslim world, and in 2009 more than 165,000 Christians will have been killed because of their faith, most of them in Muslim countries, according to a human rights organization that is visiting Israel starting Sunday.
"Hamas digs up the bodies of Christians from Christian burial sites in the Gaza Strip claiming that they pollute the earth," said Reverend Majed El Shafie, President of One Free World International (OFWI), who will head a delegation of human rights activists, members of parliament from Canada and religious personalities.
During their visit to Israel the delegation will hold a conference on human rights and persecuted minorities at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. The conference will provide new statistics on the persecution of minorities in Muslim countries.
El Shafie said that between 200-300 million Christians are being persecuted in the world, 80 percent of whom lived in Muslim countries and the rest in communist and other countries.
Members of the delegation will meet with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon and Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat in the hope of enlisting Israel to champion their cause.
OFWI is a human rights organization whose headquarters are located in Toronto, Canada. The organization numbers some 3,000 members, divided into 28 branches that are active in countries all over the world, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Iran.
El Shafie, 32, was born in Cairo to a distinguished Muslim family of lawyers and judges. Through a Christian friend he was exposed at an early age to hatred toward the Christian minority in Egypt.
He decided to convert to Christianity, wrote a book about it and as a result became an outcast and a victim of oppression.
In 1998 he was arrested, imprisoned, tortured and condemned to death.
El Shafie managed to escape, fled to the Sinai, where a Beduin family hid him for two months, and crossed the Israeli border on a jet-ski. He was arrested in Israel and was imprisoned for over a year in Beersheba, until he was released through the assistance of the UN, Amnesty International and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, which managed to obtain political asylum for El Shafie in Canada, where he emigrated. He founded OFWI in 2004.