Remembering the 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians Murdered by Daesh

February 17, 2019

These modern-day martyrs, beheaded by ISIS for their Christian faith, are akin to the 42 Martyrs of Amorion in Phrygia, whose memory we celebrate on March 6.The Martyrs of Amorion were members of the Byzantine army who were taken captive when the city of Amorion in Phrygia fell to the Muslim Arab armies in the year 838. The Muslims did not kill them immediately, but offered them great rewards if they converted to Islam. These heroic men refused. Their captors held them for seven years, finally beheading them in the year 845.

Apolytikion of the 42 Holy Martyrs of Amorion: “Your Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for You received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from You, our immortal God. For since they possessed Your strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since You are merciful.”

“Remembering The 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians Murdered By Daesh,” by Ewelina U. Ochab, Forbes, February 14, 2019:

February 2019 marks the fourth anniversary of the murder of the 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians by Daesh in Libya. The event might not be memorable for some. However, for those who saw it, it is difficult to forget the photograph of Daesh fighters marching the Coptic Orthodox Christians along the beach in orange prison suits. The photograph became a symbol for the barbarism of Daesh.

On February 12, 2015, Daesh released the seventh issue of its online propaganda and recruitment magazine Dabiq. The issue included photographs of the 21 Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians who were abducted from Sirte, Libya. They were mainly poor migrant workers. The men were abducted between December 2014 and January 2015 and killed to avenge “Kamilia Shehata, Wafa Constantine, and other sisters” allegedly “tortured and murdered by the Coptic Church of Egypt.” Daesh fighters beheaded the 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians. Apart from the photographs in Dabiq, Daesh published a video of the brutal murder online for everyone to see.

Back in February 2015, Daesh had a prominent presence in many parts of Syria and Iraq, and their mass atrocities were infamous thanks to their self-promotion online. However, the murder of the 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians was different. Daesh had previously perpetrated mass atrocities in failed or quasi-failed states like Iraq and Syria. This time, the atrocities were carried out in a functioning state, Libya. A mass atrocity of this scale should never have been allowed. Despite this, acts of persecution against Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya had begun even before Daesh established a presence in Libya in 2014….