In CS Releases & Articles

By Raymond Ibrahim – for Coptic Solidarity –

Islamic terrorists-cum-criminals kidnapped six more Coptic Christians in Libya over the weekend. 

In an audio recording, the terrorists demanded a 90,000 dinar (nearly 20,000 USD) ransom payment for the release of the Christians, who were reported as languishing in prison cells without food or water.  All six Copts are from the village of al-Haraja, al-Balina district, Sohag governorate, and appear to be part of one extended family.

Their families are pleading with the Egyptian government for urgent help, and to take these threats seriously. They say they are willing to sell their own village homes to pay for the ransom—though their value would hardly come near making ransom.

The timing and nature of this kidnapping are especially ominous.  Eight years ago, almost to the day, on February 15, 2015,  21 other Coptic Christians in Libya—most of whom were also part of one extended family—were kidnapped, held for ransom, at one point reported as freed (by the BBC), and then suddenly appeared in a video being savagely beheaded on the shores of Sirte, Libya.

In other words, based on precedent, the six Copts who were just abducted face the very real threat of murder.  The 2015 slaughter in Sirte is only the tip of the iceberg of the jihadist rage against anything Christian in Libya since the so-called “Arab Spring” came to that North African nation

In 2014, for example, seven other Copts were found brutally massacred near Benghazi, though this hardly made a blip in Western media. Other Copts were also found apparently randomly murdered. In 2013, 100 Copts were arrested, had their heads shaved, and were tortured, including by having their cross tattoos torn off their wrists.

Other examples from Libya include fatal church bombings, assaults on clergymen, and desecrations of Christian cemeteries and crosses—all occurring ever since, to quote Hilary Clinton, “We came, we saw, he [Muamar Gaddafi] died.” Indeed, even American Christians were slaughtered in Libya.

That Christians continue to be targeted suggests that the same mentality behind the Benghazi attacks—where a US consulate was sacked and its ambassador, Chris Steven murdered (if not worse)—continues to dominate in Libya.

But what are Coptic Christians, who are native to Egypt, doing in Libya in the first place?  Unable to find employment in their own nation, many of them have traveled to neighboring Libya, despite the risks, where they work and send money back home to support their impoverished families.

Thus do Coptic Christians remain stuck between a rock and a hard place: unable to find gainful employment in Egypt due to religious discrimination, some of them have little choice but to go abroad, where they encounter religious persecution.

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