By Michael Ashcraft and Mark Ellis
The brother of two of the Christians decapitated by ISIS in Libya says the atrocity has only “strengthened our faith” in Jesus.
“Since the Roman era, Christians have been martyred and have learned to handle everything that comes our way,” says Beshir Kamel. “This only makes us stronger in our faith because the Bible tells us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.”
His comments, translated into English by subtitles, were made live by phone to host Maher Fayez on the Christian television show SAT-7 ARABIC, which is broadcast in Arabic, Persian and Turkish across 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
When asked about forgiving his brothers’ killers, Kamel calmly says, “Today I was having a chat with my mother asking her what she would do if she saw one of ISIS members on the street. She said she would invite him home because they helped us enter the kingdom of Heaven.”
Islamist fanatics who pledged allegiance to ISIS kidnapped 21 Coptic Christian laborers in Libya and severed their heads with knives on a beach in a video released Feb. 15 while the victims, dressed in orange jumpsuits, screamed their undying faith in Jesus Christ. Among those killed were Bishoy Astafanus Kamel and Samuel Astafanus Kamel, brothers to the interviewed Egyptian.
The last words of some of those killed were “Lord Jesus Christ”.
“We are not in a state of grief, but congratulation, for having so many from our village die as martyrs,” Kamel says. “We are proud of them. This only helps us to endure situations.”
Egyptian Christians have endured much suffering as a minority in the Muslim nation. The new president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after ousting extremist Muslim Mohamed Morsi, has made unprecedented gestures to reach out to the Christian community, including visiting a Christian church. But still human rights abuses flourish there.
Egypt’s government, for its part, responded by bombing ISIS positions in Libya.
Kamel concludes his T.V. interview with a prayer: “Dear God please open their eyes to be saved and to quit their ignorance and the wrong teachings they were taught.”