by Raymond Ibrahim
Throughout February, members of the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, the Copts, were slaughtered.
The Islamic State released a video in mid-February depicting 21 poverty-stricken Coptic Christians being decapitated in Libya, where these men had gone to find work. While holding their victims’ bodies down, Islamic State members shoved their fingers in the Christians’ eyes, craned their heads back, and sliced away at their throats with knives — all in the name of Allah and Islam, even as the slaughtered called out to the “Lord Jesus Christ.”
Over one month before the video appeared, the BBC had falsely reported that the majority of those now-slaughtered Copts were “released.” (Such inaccurate portrayals that seek to downplay the Muslim persecution of Christians are standard for the BBC.)
In the video, the lead executioner waves his dagger at the camera while saying, “Oh people, recently you have seen us on the hills of as-Sham and Dabiq’s plain [Syrian regions], chopping off the heads that have been carrying the cross for a long time. And today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message.” He concluded by declaring: “We will fight you [Christians] until Christ descends, breaks the cross and kills the pig” (all eschatological actions ascribed to the Muslim “Christ,” Isa).
Also in February it was revealed that Egypt’s Al Azhar University — seen by many as Sunni Islam’s most authoritative voice — continues to incite enmity for and violence against non-Muslims “infidels.” The Islamic university was exposed as offering, free of charge, “a book,” in the words of an Egyptian secular critic, “whose latter half and every page — indeed every few lines — ends with “whoever disbelieves [“infidels”] strike off his head.”
On February 23, yet another Coptic Christian man, Hani, was fatally shot in al-‘Arish, Sinai, by members of the Islamic terrorist group, Ansar Bait al-Maqdis. Hani was in his shop when three terrorists drove by and opened fire on him killing him immediately. Weeks earlier, masked gunmen stormed the home of another Coptic Christian man residing in al-‘Arish. After robbing him and his family at gunpoint, they shot him several times in the head, instantly killing him. According to the slain man’s wife, her husband was murdered “only because he was a Copt [Christian].” She pointed out that the masked intruders stole everything in sight — the money in his pockets, whatever jewelry she was wearing, her handbag, cell phones, and even a Bible. After plundering everything, they then shot the Christian “infidel” in the head, leaving his wife widowed and his children with no breadwinner.
On February 2, the Islamic State (IS) announced that it had executed yet another Christian priest in Mosul — Paul Jacob, who had been kidnapped eight months earlier. The Islamic State apparently also blew up his parish. His execution reportedly took place in Ghazlani Camp in southern Mosul, where a militia camp is located. Although various Arabic media reported this story, the Chaldean Patriarchate denied “recent news stories that report a priest being executed by Islamic State militants in Mosul.”
The Islamic State also terrorized Christians in other regions during the jihad. In the early hours of February 23, IS fighters attacked several Christian villages along the Khabur River in northeastern Syria. Four Christians who had enrolled in the Assyrian militia were killed, as well as a civilian child. One Christian woman was raped by the Islamic invaders before being slaughtered.
Approximately 250 Christians, including women and children, were taken hostage. The majority, around 230, are still being held. The Islamic State is demanding $23 million to release them. If the ransom is not met, based on precedent, the Christian hostages will most likely be enslaved, raped, or simply slaughtered.
Several churches were also torched or damaged during the same jihadi raid. These included the church in Tel Hurmiz, one of the oldest churches in Syria; the Mar Bisho church in Tel Shamiran; the church in Qabr Shamiy and the church in Tel Baloua.
This raid further “brought to light [the] deplorable conduct on the part of other persons,” namely the West, said Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo:
I wish to say quite clearly that we have the feeling of being abandoned into the hands of Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State]. Yesterday American bombers flew over the area several times, but without taking action. We have a hundred Assyrian families who have taken refuge in Hassakè, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or from Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians. The UN high commission for Refugees is nowhere to be seen.
In a separate interview, the Syrian archbishop added:
With their disastrous policies mainly the French and the US, with their regional allies, have favored in fact the Daesh [IS] escalation. Now they persevere in error, commit strategic, grotesque mistakes … instead of recognizing that their guaranteed support to jihadist groups has led us to this chaos and has destroyed Syria, making us regress 200 years.
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