26 Christians Reportedly Kidnapped by Radical Islamic Militants Since July, Some by ISIS Branch in Libya
1/27/2015 Washington D.C.,(International Christian Concern) – Today, International Christian Concern (ICC), a Washington D.C.-based religious freedom watchdog group, launched a petition calling on the Egyptian government to “immediately begin rescue operations on behalf of an estimated 27 Egyptian citizens kidnapped by radical militant groups in Libya.” The petition goes on to say that if swift action is not taken, the kidnapping victims could “face the possibility of enslavement, torture, and execution.”
The majority of the Coptic Christians believed to be held by radical Islamic militants were abducted in two separate raids in December and January. On January 12, a group claiming to represent the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in Libya took responsibility for kidnapping 21 of the victims, calling them “Christian crusaders.”
ICC’s petition also addresses the plight of Coptic Christians communities that remain trapped in dangerous areas of Libya. “In addition to the rescue of [the kidnapping victims], we also urge your government in the strongest possible terms to do everything within your power to increase protections for the expatriate Coptic community in Libya and to facilitate the expeditious return home of Coptic Christians in Libya currently under threat.” Egyptian Christians with relatives in Sirte and other parts of Libya say many of their family members are trapped, with no way to travel without risking further abductions. On December 23, Islamic militants broke into the home of Dr. Magdy Tawfiq in Sirte, murdering Dr. Tawfiq, his wife, and his 13-year-old daughter. Dr. Tawfiq and his family had been attempting to secure safe passage back to Egypt for several months when the attack took place.
Isaac Six, International Christian Concern’s Advocacy Director, commented on the petition, saying, “It has been 25 days since the last group of Coptic Christians was kidnapped by radical militants in Libya, but the Egyptian government has apparently done little more than acknowledge that the kidnappings took place. It’s time for action, not only on behalf of those currently in the hands of ISIS affiliates and other radical groups, but for all of the Coptic Christian workers in Libya who are undeniably at risk of being killed or abducted simply because of their religious identity. My sincere hope is that the Egyptian government will heed this call to action and take immediate steps towards rescuing the abductees and securing Coptic communities in Libya.”
The petition can be found here: http://info.persecution.org/Libyapetition
For interviews, please contact Isaac Six at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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