On February 16, 2015, Egyptian planes engaged in bombing raids on Derna, a city in Libya held by the Islamic State. Since the US assisted removal of the dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has become a hotbed of Islamist violence with no central government.
Egyptian officials announced that the bombings were in retaliation against the Islamic State for their recent act of terror and evil. They beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians over the weekend. They posted the barbaric act on Youtube.
They are using it as a part of their international propaganda plan to garner support for their continued bloodthirsty evil Jihad. Their effort is aimed at spreading their Islamic Caliphate throughout the entire Middle East and beyond by the power of the sword.
The video was released on Sunday, the Christian Lord’s Day. Certainly that was intentional.
The execution took place on a beach in Libya. These Christian 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 evil, 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 a North American accented English,and declared:
“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 weekend over the long weekend.
The Islamic State and its affiliated network of Islamic extremists has specifically targeted Coptic Christians. Many people, including many Christians, are not aware that these brave Christians are the focus of the violence precisely because they ARE Christians.
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) It predates any claimed Islamic history in that land.
To the Christians who live in that historic land, the history of the Christian Church is the history of Egypt. They are courageous, holy 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 martyrdom of our brothers and sisters, 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 fellow Christians gives rise to one of our highest obligations in our lives. These Coptic Christians were martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ. Are we standing with them?
The Evangelist Mark brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Egypt in 61 A.D. and planted the Church there, deep in the soil of that land of martyrs and saints.
Egypt has a proud, long, unbroken and vital Christian heritage. We must pray for, stand with, and defend the Christians in Egypt as hostility toward the Christian faith grows.
The majority of Christians in Egypt are Coptic Orthodox Christians. The word “Copt ” comes from an early Greek name for Egypt. Christianity and Egypt have a long and holy history.
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.
One of the reasons why the persecution of Christians in Egypt is particularly reprehensible is that their just claim to living in this land is strong and clear. This is a matter of true social justice.
It is also NOT being addressed by the Obama administration of the United States of America.
This is also an egregious violation of fundamental human rights precisely because it is an overt and calculated persecution of Christians.
Yes, others, including the Yazidis and Muslims who disagree with the specific interpretation of Islam touted by ISIS and their allies, are also being persecuted. That is also reprehensible.
However, there can be no denying the fact that the Islamic State has set its focus on the Jewish people and on the Christians.
Denying that undeniable fact, and using propaganda language, such as the avoiding the term Islamic Terrorists, is not only ineffective, it is patently offensive.
Who is standing up for these Coptic Christians?
Where is the US President and his administration in the face of the escalating hostility shown to Christians in Egypt and the other hot spots in what is collectively referred to as the Middle East?
Why are we only now reading about the plight of Christians and seeing reports on 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. The various alphabet soup expressions of the movement referred to as Al Qaeda has long had them in their crosshairs.
I have written about the plight of our Coptic Orthodox and Catholic Christian brethren in Egypt and throughout that Holy and Ancient Land often because of the blackout in much of the media.
However, I do so for another and more important reason.
They are heroic witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are our Christian 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 of defending them.
Their suffering – and the shedding of their blood for the ancient Christian faith – should draw every Christian to our knees.
It demands a response of support and solidarity from all who can help them.
I have repeatedly urged my readers to pray for Coptic Orthodox Christians, Coptic Catholic Christians and Protestant Christians in Egypt. I once again issue that call. For many of us, we will soon enter into that 40 Day period called lent in the Liturgical calendar of our Churches.
It is a time of increased prayer, fasting and alms-giving. 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.
The presence of Christians in this ancient Holy Land is vital. Their presence precedes any Muslim claims to Egypt, Syria or any of the other Nations which now fill that area of the world.
The Christians in the Middle East have a right to be there. They also have a right to be protected.
Many Governments, including the Egyptian government, responded quickly with clear condemnations to be-headings of these 21 Christian Martyrs. 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.
It is well beyond time for this verbal charade by this US Administration to end. 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.
These evil Islamic terrorists must be exposed and opposed. It is time for prayer. It is time for action.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.