Islamic State's Official Magazine Announces Execution of 21 Copts Kidnapped in Libya

Coptic Catholic Bishop Says IS’s ‘Design Aims to Divide Us, Put Us Against Each Other’

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According to Dabiq, the official magazine of the Islamic State online, the 21 Copts kidnapped in Libya in early January are in the hands of the jihadists of the Islamic State (IS), reported Fides.

The magazine article, which foreshadows their execution, cites the Islamic State’s motive as being revenge of the alleged “violence” suffered in the past by Egyptian Muslim women on behalf of the Coptic Church.

“At the moment, said Coptic Catholic Bishop of Guizeh, Anba Antonios Aziz Mina, All men of good will should pray for our brothers kidnapped in Libya, whatever their fate. It should especially avoid falling into the trap of the jihadists.

Those hostages were kidnapped because they are Egyptians, he said, underscoring, Their design aims to divide us and put us against each other: Christians against Muslims, pacifist and ‘heretic’ Muslims against ‘real’ Muslims, Sunnis against Shiites, believers against atheists.

The Islamic State’s article defines the Copts as “crusaders of Egypt” and refers to the old story of two Coptic women who, according to the jihadist propaganda, were compelled by force by the Coptic Orthodox Church to recant their conversion to Islam.

Its text also mentions the massacre carried out in 2010 by the terrorists of al-Qaeda in the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, first presented as a “revenge” for the alleged violence by the Copts in Egypt.

Accompanying the article are pictures of the kidnapped wearing orange clothes and held hostage by armed masked men, in poses and situations that evoke images of the seized already murdered by jihadists cutthroats.

Currently, the reactions of Egyptian institutions appear cautious, while families of the kidnapped are preparing protests in the Egyptian capital today, near the headquarters of the journalists’ union.

The protests will be followed by a prayer meeting in the Coptic cathedral.

The Egyptian presidency sent a note to say that checks and contacts are being carried out to assess the current conditions of the hostages.

Unofficial sources reaffirm that the corpses of the hostages have not been found in Libya, and that jihadists have placed an ultimatum of 72 hours before starting the executions.

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