Last month, the Islamic State beheaded 21 Coptic Christian men along the Libyan shore. A graphic video of this event horrified the world. The Copts, who had gone to Libya as migrant workers, had been hunted down in their residences and separated from neighbors on the basis of their Christian faith before being killed. In response, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took immediate military and diplomatic action against IS, defending the Copts as “innocent victims.”
Coptic Christians – members of the ancient church of Egypt and the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East – are no strangers to religious persecution. However, this is the most significant assault on them since Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked scores of Coptic churches in August 2013 after the overthrow of President Morsi. How does the growing IS threat in northern Africa affect Christian communities in the region?
On March 18th, Nina Shea and Samuel Tadros, both of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, joined His Grace Bishop Angaelos for an in-depth discussion of the threats facing the Coptic community.