Washington, DC– ISIS continues to carry out its campaign against Christianity from the Middle East, and in a recent video vowed to escalate its campaign of systematic persecution Egypt’s Coptic Christians.
Since the recent ISIS video threatening Egypt’s Christians, approximately 29 Christians have been killed and hundreds are fleeing the violence in Egypt’s North Sinai province. One man was beheaded—in the same brutal manner suffered by 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded on the shores of Libya in 2015.
“Oh crusaders in Egypt, this attack that struck you in your temple is just the first with many more to come, God willing,” said the alleged perpetrator of the December bombing of a chapel adjoining Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, an attack in which 28 Christians were killed.
According to Christians living in Sinai, security forces on the ground are unable to protect them and are overwhelmed by the militants.
The Copts of Egypt constitute roughly ten percent of Egypt’s population of 92 million—the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Egypt’s Christian community has faced discrimination for decades, and worsening persecution in recent years.
In 2013, Egypt’s Christian community suffered the worst violence in perhaps a thousand years. President Fattah El-Sisi promised to rebuild churches destroyed during the violence. According to the Egyptian government, most of the churches destroyed have been rebuilt.
“IDC calls on the Egyptian government to protect Coptic Christians, to bring to justice those who have committed acts of terrorism, and to defeat ISIS, Al Qaeda and its affiliates in the Sinai,” said IDC Executive Director, Philippe Nassif.
Egypt has been the largest annual recipient of foreign and military aid from U.S. taxpayers for decades.
“The American people hope that the Egyptian people will succeed in their struggle against terrorism and extremism,” added Nassif. “No person should be targeted for violence on the basis of his or her religious beliefs.”