According to One News Now, Christian persecution is not going away anytime soon, despite the release of 43 hostages earlier this week. Even though ISIS released the 43 Christian hostages, they have killed hundreds of thousands of Christians in Syria, and forced hundreds of thousands Assyrian Christians to flee their homes in the past year. The release of the hostages means nothing to the Christian persecution that is still going on, despite the ceasefire treaty in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. Furthermore, ISIS received millions of dollars for the release of the Assyrian Christian hostages, which gives them even more power to continue the persecution and murders of other Christians and those who oppose their Islamic State views. Even though the hostage situation has ended in Syria, it doesn’t mean the persecution of Christians has ended by any means.
The director of advocacy for International Christian Concern (ICC), Nate Lance, said that “no one wants to see more money go to ISIS or to incentivize ISIS by paying ransom, but ICC is grateful for the release of the hostages.” Lance told ONN, “First and foremost, obviously, we are very pleased that these Assyrian Christians are now back with their families and relatively safe, compared to being in captivity under ISIS.” Lance said it was up to the international community to take further action against ISIS.
“A larger international response is required to keep more situations like this from happening, but in the short term, we are at least pleased that so many of these were returned safe and sound.”
Lance hopes that the U. S. government will take measures and enact even harsher policies that will keep ISIS from “continuing their acts of terror.”
While the Syrian crisis is going on, with a very volatile ceasefire treaty, Coptic Christians in Egypt are definitely not safe. According to Christian Freedom International (CFI), Coptic Christians in Egypt are often taken and held as hostages until a ransom is paid. Egypt is a Muslim-dominated country, and home to many terrorists who see kidnapping Christians for ransom as a business. With this mindset, persecution of Christians also seems to be a lucrative business for the Islamic State.
Earlier this month, a 5-year-old boy was grabbed in front of his home. According to Christian Freedom, Mina Samir, from the village of Youssef El-Seddick in Egypt, was kidnapped by Muslims as he was playing in front of his home. The kidnappers contacted his father, demanding a ransom of 5oo thousand Egyptian pounds for the return of the boy. Apparently, Coptic Christians, who are a minority in Egypt, have been often taken for ransom, and many of the kidnappings end with the hostages being killed.
On Thursday, an Egyptian court sentenced four Coptic Christian teens up to five years in prison for insulting Islam. This conviction is the latest in a series of high-profile blasphemy convictions by Egypt’s judicial system, which has drawn criticism from other countries.
The New York Times reported that the teenagers were convicted in Minya, a province south of Cairo, where they were accused of filming a video that mocked the Muslim mode of prayer, according to the teens’ lawyer, Maher Naguib.
The Egyptian police arrested the Christian teens after a Muslim classmate found the video. Three of the teens were sentenced to five years in prison, the fourth, who is under 18, will be detained at a juvenile detention center. The four Coptic Christian teenagers didn’t attend the hearing on Thursday, and Naguib said they will appeal the decision. Naguib said they were sent to relatives out of fear for their safety.
“Their parents have sent them to uncles and aunts outside of Minya. They feared for their safety. They are all terrified and crying now.”
The video was filmed by one of the teens’ teachers, who is also a Christian. He has also been convicted on charges of contempt of Islam in a separate trial from the teens’ trial.
Minya was associated with violence against Coptic Christians in 2013 when the military, led by Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, ousted the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, who was a leader of the “Muslim Brotherhood.” During this time, mobs of young Egyptian men attacked Christian homes, churches, and businesses due to suspicions that the Coptic Christians had conspired with the military to oust Morsi.
Coptic Christians, or “Copts,” make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 90 million people, and have complained of discrimination for decades. The teens’ lawyer said the growing atmosphere of intolerance in Egypt might hurt his clients’ chance of an appeal.
What are your thoughts on the persecution of Christians by ISIS in the middle east? Should the U.S. government be doing more to end the rule of ISIS and Islamic extremists? Please feel free to comment below.
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