21 Coptic Christians Beheaded by Islamic Terrorists: Time for Action

By Deacon Keith Fournier Published on February 16, 2015

Members of the Islamic State beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians over the weekend and posted the barbaric act on YouTube. The terrorist act is part of their violent effort to spread their Islamic Caliphate throughout the Middle East and beyond.

The execution took place on a beach in Libya. These men were beheaded precisely because they were Christians. They can be seen calling on the true God and His Son Jesus Christ, as their evil executioners commit this act of savagery. These Christians are true martyrs, unlike the deluded Jihadists who commit acts of homicide against innocents in the name of their “god” — and then claim to be martyrs.

One of the murderers addressed the camera, speaking with North American-accented English:

All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together. The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood. We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission.

I hope the President of the United States heard those words from Palm Springs, California, where he is on a golfing holiday over the long weekend.

The history of Christianity in Egypt dates back to the visit of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph to that land. (Matt. 2) The Evangelist Mark brought the Gospel to Egypt in 61 A.D. and planted the Church there. Since then the country has a proud, long, unbroken and vital Christian heritage.

The majority of Christians there are Coptic Orthodox Christians, with the word “Copt” coming from an early Greek name for Egypt. In addition, there is a strong, ancient and devout community of Coptic Catholic Christians. The relationship between the two Churches is strong — and growing stronger under the persecution which they face together. They are joined by roughly 20-30 thousand Protestant Christians in the country.

The Christians of Egypt are courageous men and women who need our prayer, support and defense. They deserve the defense of every just Nation in the world with the resolve and courage to respond.

As for the response of Christians to this rising tide of persecution, the Bible we share in common is clear. The Apostle Paul exhorted the early believers to “do good to all, but especially to those of the household of the faith.” (Gal. 6:10) Our solidarity with them gives rise to one of our highest obligations. We must pray for, stand with and defend them as hostility toward our faith grows.

Yes, others, including the Yazidis and Muslims who disagree with the specific interpretation of Islam touted by ISIS are also being persecuted. That is also reprehensible. However, there can be no denying the fact that the Islamic State has set its sites on Jews and Christians. Denying this while avoiding the term Islamic Terrorists is not only ineffective, it is patently offensive.

Where is President Obama in the face of the escalating hostility shown to Christians in Egypt and in the other hot spots in the Middle East and Africa? Many governments, including the Egyptian government, responded quickly with clear condemnations to these atrocities. They also properly refer to the perpetrators as Islamic terrorists. Not so the Obama Administration. Sadly, in its official response, it once again avoided the truth.

And why are we only now reading about the plight of Christians and seeing reports in the mainstream media? These Christians have been relentlessly pursued by Islamic radical terrorists for years, even before the formal launch of the Islamic State. The Muslim Brotherhood singled them out, and the various alphabet soup expressions of the movement referred to as al-Qaeda have long had them in their crosshairs.

These Christians are heroic witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are our brethren, joined to us in the bonds of our common baptismal communion. We have a special obligation, a duty, to them and we must do everything we can to call attention to their plight. We must also find a way to defend them.

Their suffering, the shedding of their blood for the ancient Christian faith, should draw all Christians to our knees. Many of us will soon enter into that 40 Day period called Lent in the Liturgical calendar of our churches. Let us use this period effectively, offering our prayer and sacrifice for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted by these evil Islamic terrorists.

It is past time to end the verbal charade and denials. The Islamic State is a movement of extremist Islamic terrorists hell bent on spreading their blood cult throughout the Middle East and around the world. They must be exposed and opposed. It is time for prayer. It is time for action.


Deacon Keith A. Fournier is a Senior Contributor of The Stream and founder and chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. He is a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate who served as the first and founding executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice in the 1980s and serves as Special Counsel to Liberty Counsel. 

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