On Sunday, ISIS released a gruesome video of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya. The man had been abducted from Sirte. On Saturday is was reported that a second group of 21 Egyptians had been kidnapped in Libya – this time from Misrata, reported the Telegraph.
Egyptian Copts form the largest Christian community in the Middle East, accounting for an estimated 10 per cent of the population. There are an estimated six to 11 million members.
The majority belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, which according to tradition was established by Saint Mark in the 1st Century, approximately AD 42, while the remainder are divided between the Coptic Catholic church and various (smaller) Coptic Protestant churches…
Why have Isis claimed to have targeted them?
The video, titled ‘A message signed in blood to the people of the cross’, makes reference to the “hostile Egyptian Church”. It also claims to be a response to the alleged treatment of Camilla Shehata, the wife of a Coptic priest whose alleged conversion in 2010 sparked a sectarian dispute. Isis, also known as the Islamic State, claim that the women was held against her will, post conversion.
Specifically, the men involved in the video claim that these “crusaders” will have their blood mixed in the “sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in”.
Online: Egypt’s Coptic Christians: Who are they – and why have then been targeted by Isis in beheading video?
Franklin Graham: “The militant Islamic terrorist group ISIS has released a video called A MESSAGE SIGNED WITH BLOOD TO THE NATION OF THE CROSS showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians who had been kidnapped in Libya. Can you imagine the outcry if 21 Muslims had been beheaded by Christians? Where is the universal condemnation by Muslim leaders around the world? As we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States. If this concerns you like it does me, share this. The storm is coming.”
Pope Francis: “I would now like to turn to my native tongue to express feelings of profound sorrow. Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: “Jesus, help me!”. They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians.
You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers and sisters who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians.”
Egypt on Monday launched airstrikes against ISIS targets in Libya.