Family of 21 Martyrs Remain Proud of Their Family’s Sacrifice
02/15/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Two years ago, ISIS released a video titled “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” In it, ISIS militants in military fatigues walk behind 21 Egyptian Christian male captives in orange jumpsuits before forcing them to kneel, in a style that emulates the videos released by ISIS of brutal killings in Iraq and Syria. One of the militants then threatened Christians by declaring, “O crusaders, safety for you will be only wishes.”
The ruthless execution of these Christian men shocked the world and left 21 Egyptian families in mourning. Many of the victims were trying to find work in Libya before ISIS kidnapped them. Their deaths and the video are a continual reminder of ISIS brutality toward anyone who does not support their radical ideology.
Many of the family members have chosen to use this anniversary as a time of celebration in spite of the pain associated with the video. The uncle of one martyr noted, “At the beginning, the news of executing our martyrs in Libya was very painful for us, but God has strengthened us and his Holy Spirit has given us the patience and heavenly consolation.”
The pain does not eliminate the pride experienced by many family members who remember that their loved ones were martyred for Christ. One wife recollected how her husband “kept the faith, and was martyred in the name of Christ. His faith was very strong. I’m proud of him. He has lifted our heads up and honored us and all the Christians.” Another family member reminisced, “I’m very happy that my brother is in Heaven with Jesus now. I loved my brother when he was alive on the earth, but now I love him more than before. He was martyred in the name of Jesus Christ.”
These family members refuse to allow their loved ones’ deaths to be in vain. “All of our churches were built on the blood of the martyrs at all times,” remembered one father. “We are very proud of our martyrs. They have lifted our heads and the heads of all Christians. The whole world witnesses them.”
A widow of one of the 21 said that she “hopes that the faith of my son…will be like the faith of his father.“
ICC’s Regional Manager, William Stark, said, “We mourn both the deaths of these 21 Christian men and the brutality behind their execution. ISIS and other extremist groups like them continue to target, torture, and kill Christian men and women who dare to stand up for their faith. This anniversary, however, demonstrates the faith of the surviving family members. Their patience, hope, and love continue to stand as an example for the global Church.”