Published: 10:30 GMT Standard Time – Tuesday 04 March 2014
Seven Egyptian Christians were rounded up by suspected Islamist militants in Libya, taken away at gunpoint and shot dead.
|The Christians’ bodies were found on a beach on the outskirts of Benghazi Dennixo / CC BY-SA 3.0|
Their bodies were found with their hands tied behind their backs on a beach on the outskirts of Benghazi on 24 February.
A group of masked men had raided the building in which the Egyptians lived the night before. They went door-to-door asking if the residents were Christian or Muslim before abducting the seven Christians, who were aged 17-25, at gunpoint.
The victims were Talaat Seddiq Bebawi, Hani Girgis Habib, Nadhi Girgis Habib, Fawzi Fathi Seddiq, Edward Nashed Boulos, Ayoub Sabry Tawfiq and Sameh Romany.
According to Egyptian rights group Nations Without Borders, the militants spray-painted a message on the apartment building and on other buildings in the area offering a reward of 10,000 Libyan Dinars (£5,000; US$8,000) for anyone who turns a Christian over to them.
No group has claimed responsibility for the murders, but they happened in a part of the country where Islamist militants are particularly active; killings, kidnappings and bombings are commonplace.
The Libyan authorities are struggling to assert control over such brigades three years after the revolution that ousted Colonel Gaddafi.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians live in Libya, doing mostly manual labour. Egyptian Christiansare being targeted.
On 25 September, Waleed Saad Shaker (25) and Nash’at Shenouda Ishaq (27) were killed by a group of Muslims after they refused to convert to Islam. The Christians were surrounded by the assailants on a rural road in Derna district. The Muslims robbed and beat them and demanded that the Christians recite the shahada, the Islamic confession of faith. When the pair refused, the attackers tied them up and shot them.
Libya’s small Christian community, which is composed mostly of expatriates, is increasingly vulnerable as Islamic extremism grows in strength. On 25 September 2013, two Egyptian Christians living in Libya were killed by a group of Muslims after they refused to convert to Islam. Waleed Saad Shaker (25) and Nash’at Shenouda Ishaq (27) were surrounded by the assailants on a rural road in Derna district. The Muslims robbed and beat them and demanded that the Christians recite the shahada, the Islamic confession of faith. When the pair refused, the attackers tied them up and shot them. Praise God that Waleed and Nash’at remained faithful even to the point of death (Revelation 2:10), and pray that this will be a source of comfort to their loved ones.
Earlier last year, Ezzat Atallah (45), who was arrested on suspicion of trying to spread Christianity in the country, died in prison on 10 March, having allegedly been tortured to death. Dozens of other Egyptian Christians were also detained and tortured.
Egyptian rights group the Maspero Youth Union said that the Egyptian government was not doing anything about the targeting of Christians either inside or outside the country
ICC Note: An Egyptian shopkeeper working in Libya was shot on Sunday morning after being identified as a Christian. The status of the man is still unclear after he was taken to the hospital. This is the second significant event in the past week targeting Egyptian Christians in Libya. While the country is facing an ongoing battle with extremists groups, Christians are being singled out on the basis of their religious identity.
03/03/2014 Libya (MidEast Christian News) – The brother of an Egyptian Coptic Christian shot and injured in Libya Sunday morning has described the details of the incident to MCN.
Karam Fawzy Tobia, 27, of Sheikh Talat village in Samalot, Minya (Upper Egypt), told MCN that his brother Salama Fawzy, 22, was shot in Libya Sunday morning. Salama owns a grocery shop in the Almajora area of Benghazi, and while he was in the shop with his brothers Moussa and Milad, gunmen opened fire on him upon learning he was a Christian, according to Tobia. Tobia said Salama was seriously injured and taken to the hospital.
“A group of terrorist elements target Christians in Libya and my brother was targeted,” Tobia told MCN. “While he was in his shop yesterday with [our] two brothers, a bearded man broke into the shop and swore at them with the worst words. The bearded man also swore at Christianity without reasons. Then, he shot my brother several times randomly and intensively.”
Tobia said he knew his brother was not killed, but was seriously injured and taken to the intensive care unit at the hospital. He added, however, that he is not sure of the reality of his brother’s condition or if he is truly alive or dead.
Tobia said one of his brothers had notified him earlier that a group called Ansar al-Sharia in Libya attacked Christian workers’ houses, threatened them and hit them. They also use knives and firearms and impose royalties on Christians and if Christians refuse to pay, they acquire their money forcibly, said Tobia. They also asked the Copts to leaving Libya permanently. Tobia said he expected Ansar al-Sharia was the responsible for the attack on his brother.
After being shot in the head by Islamist extremists in Libya, Egyptian Christian Salama Fawzy Tobia, 23, is barely holding on to life. “I pray for God’s will to be done,” Tobia’s older brother, Karam Fawzy Tobia, told Morning Star News. “If He wants him to live on Earth, we will be happy. If it is His will to take him to heaven, we will accept this.”
- Pray for Tobia’s spiritual and physical healing
- Pray for his family’s comfort and strength as they also recover with him
- Pray for the safety and protection of Christians in Libya and Egypt