Egypt in Mourning Over Brutal Execution of 21 Coptic Christians by ‘ISIS in Libya’

Families of kidnapped Coptic Egyptians  protest in front of the Journalist Syndicate in Cairo. The banner reads, "Oh Egypt, stand up .... The voice of your kidnapped sons calls you.  Where is the international community's position regarding the kidnapping of innocents in Libya." (Screenshot taken from a video by Aswat Masriya

Families of kidnapped Coptic Egyptians protest in front of the Journalist Syndicate in Cairo. The banner reads, “Oh Egypt, stand up …. The voice of your kidnapped sons calls you.
Where is the international community's position regarding the kidnapping of innocents in Libya.” (Screenshot from a YouTube video by Aswat Masriya )

Militant group “ISIS in Libya” beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian workers who had been abducted in Libya more than a month ago.

The ultimate fate of the 21 Egyptian Christian workers who were kidnapped over a month ago in Libya was unclear when “ISIS in Libya” published photographs of them last week. Then, on Sunday, February 15 a gruesome and bloody video was posted on YouTube that showed the beheading of the hostages.

In the video and in photographs, the kidnapped Egyptian workers are seen wearing the orange jumpsuits that ISIS hostages typically wear before being executed.

ISIS linked websites claimed that the kidnapping was in response to the alleged kidnapping of Muslim women by the Egyptian Coptic Church.

Prior to the execution video's appearance on YouTube, the Egyptian government seemed to have little or no information about their fate.

On Saturday, according to a statement published on the website of the Egyptian State Information Service, Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab met with family members of the hostages and “briefed them on efforts exerted to ensure the safe return of the abductees.”

In a statement, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered the evacuation of thousands of Egyptian workers in Libya.

In another statement published on the same day, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that:

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued directives to exert the utmost effort to protect the Egyptians in Libya” and that the government “has urged Egyptians residing in Libya to avoid conflict areas that are controlled by terrorists.

Prior to the meeting between the Egyptian prime minister and the families of the hostages on Saturday, family members of those kidnapped held a protest in front of the journalist syndicate in Cairo denouncing the government's inaction. 

On Sunday evening, after news of the video spread, Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called for an emergency meeting with the National Defense Council and declared 7 days of mourning

Twitter has been flooded with expressions of sadness, sympathy, and anger after the news of the beheading of the 21 hostages spread. A flood of criticism also pointed out the failures of the current Egyptian administration. 

Egyptian singer Hamza Namira tweeted:

There is no power but from God.. My our Lord have mercy on the poor Egyptians .. And bestow mercy on us from all that is happening .. Mourning after mourning after mourning.

Egyptian journalist Omar ElHady wrote:

The Marshal who has been ruling for 8 months closed the entire public sphere to combat terrorism and we have only harvested security and military failure. A failed state and martyrs; they were guilty for being Egyptians.

Video journalist Farah Saafan expressed her grief in the following words:

They lived poor and died poor… May God have mercy on them.

Former TV presenter for the recently closed Al Jazeera Egyptian channel Zein Tawfik wrote:

Oh God, I absolve myself from all who have killed a soul or spilled blood wrongfully. The poor Copts who were killed in Libya and their families have no one but You.

Al Jazeera Arabic TV anchor Mohamed Krichen expressed his condolences in the following Tweet:

My deepest condolences to all Egyptians. There is no power but from God, the Almighty.

Middle East journalist Bel Trew, who has written for The Times and The Sunday Times, sympathized with the families of those killed.

Former Qatari diplomat Nasser Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa wrote a series of Tweets expressing his grief and view on the horrific event:

The killing of the Egyptian Copts in Libya is a big crime and form of oppression and infidelity against the true religion; and no Muslim does such an action nor does any conscience accept it; and the oppressive perpetrator is damned until Judgment Day.

The Copts who were wrongfully killed went searching for sustenance. They have become victims of matters they have no stakes in. And no justification will be accepted for this horrendous crime.

Those who killed the Egyptian Copts in Libya are in no way related to Islam. Even if they claim they are Muslims in what they do, they have committed crimes and belittled the right of life and trespassed the commandments of God.

The April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, a popular political Facebook group, issued a statement following the news of the beheading expressing its condolences to the Egyptian people and the families of the deceased.

In its statement, the group also said:

We know that the incident is great and we understand very well the gravity of the matter and how hard speaking is on the hearts of the victims’ families; and some may ask us to be silent in respect to the emotions of the families and the nation's loss.

Yet has nothing sent us to that abyss but the silence of the mouths regarding the truth and turning the gaze away from the nation's loss among the living?!

The statement then went on to read:

A system that does not respect its citizens and does not remember them except after their death if it is reminded is a system whose hands have been stained with the blood of its citizens of various ages and affiliations at any occasion that has been granted to him…

…A system that looks upon the citizens as being inferior and does not understand the meanings of a decent life, good governance, and social justice.

A system that kills.

Whether that killing is by the bullet or by negligence or by disregard or by shortcomings.

The April 6 Movement ended its statement by saying:

The only way out for this country is that the current regime departs (from office)… There is no more hope in reforming a corrupt system that takes corruption as an methodology and failure as a beacon. There is no home throughout Egypt that does not have someone lost or injured.

In a televised address Sunday night, El-Sisi said that Egypt reserves the right to respond to the beheading of 21 Coptic Egyptians. He also announced a ban on travel to Libya and ordered the government to secure the return of Egyptians wishing to leave Libya and return to their home country.


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