Jesus Hates Religion-A Christ-Centered Response to Beheadings

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Alex Himaya, Senior Pastor, of theChurch.at in Tulsa, OK and author of the book, Jesus Hates Religion, has a Coptic Orthodox heritage, and wants people in every corner of our world to stand with Egypt in opposition to the acts of terror being reported from Libya.

Alex Himaya

Christians from all over the world should stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ in light of this atrocity.

According to a video released by the media arm of the militant Islamic group known as IS or The Islamic State, 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians from Egypt were killed on February 15, 2015. These workers were previously seized in December 2014 and January 2015 in the coastal town of Sirte in eastern Libya which is now under control of Islamic groups (1).

These captives were led to a beach where they were forced down onto their knees, and then beheaded. A caption on the video read, “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church” made it clear the captives were killed because of their faith (2).

Alex Himaya, Senior Pastor, of theChurch.at in Tulsa, OK and author of the book, Jesus Hates Religion, has a Coptic Orthodox heritage, and wants people in every corner of our world to stand with Egypt in opposition to the acts of terror being reported from Libya.

Himaya said, “Christians from all over the world should stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ in light of this atrocity. These believers were innocent lives taken by one of the most brutal terror networks in world history. Even if you aren’t a Christian, as a human being, you should be sickened by the news of these fellow humans who have lost their life in such a brutal way. "

Himaya continues, “We extend our heartfelt prayers and sympathy to the families of those murdered, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt and the Egyptian Government in the wake of the slaughter of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by the Tripoli Province of the Islamic State. Further, I want to condemn the brutal killing of these Christians and am horrified by the depth of evil that is being carried out by those loyal to the Islamic State. We mourn with those who mourn in Egypt and around the world.”

Media outlets report Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi convened an emergency national security meeting to discuss a response. He sent condolences to "the victims of terrorism," according to a statement released by the presidency (3).

"These cowardly actions will not undermine our determination. Egypt and the whole world are in a fierce battle with extremist groups carrying extremist ideology and sharing the same goals”, Sisi said (4).

Himaya agrees, “I urge both the U.S. government, the Egyptian government, and our coalition of allies to do everything within their power to act swiftly to protect the innocent lives of those who remain in Libya and are facing threats if they are attempting to flee the country. The Islamic State is an ongoing threat to religious liberty in the Middle East, and I urge our President to engage all channels to secure the religious rights of minorities in this region. The Islamic State is one of the biggest threats in our world today.”

Coptic Christians are the largest minority group in Egypt, numbering 8.5 million people. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt traces its heritage to the ministry of the Apostle Mark in AD 42.

Thousands of the poorest Egyptians have traveled to Libya since 2011 in search of jobs. The Egyptian Government has declared a seven-day mourning period in the wake of the assassinations by ISIL (5).

References:

1 BBC February 15, 2015 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-31481797

2 American Aljazeera February 15, 2015http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/2/15/isil-releases-video-purporting-to-show-beheading-of-egyptians-in-libya.html

3 American Aljazeera February 15, 2015 http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/2/15/isil-releases-video-purporting-to-show-beheading-of-egyptians-in-libya.html

4 NPR February 15, 2015- http://www.npr.org/2015/02/16/386631042/egypt-strikes-isis-targets-in-libya-after-grisly-video-is-released

5 Egypttind Dependent February 15, 2015 http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/jobless-and-desperate-egyptians-risk-all-perilous-libya-0

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Bryan Wilks