Islamic State militants have purportedly executed an estimated 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. The as-yet unverified video, released Sunday, showed Islamic State fighters marching two groups of about 15 male Ethiopian Christians to their deaths. Half were beheaded and the rest were shot, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This is the latest incident in a series of gruesome attacks against the minority community in the Middle East and North Africa.
For the first 25 minutes of the video, Christians living under the Islamic State in presumably Syria or Iraq say they live happily under the so-called caliphate, agreeing to pay a religious tax. As an article in the New York Times points out, it is unclear what pressure interviewees were under at the time.
according the article, one jihadi issued a stunning statement in the video, saying:
“You will not have safety even in your dreams, until you accept Islam,” declares a masked figure, speaking English with an American accent and pointing a revolver toward the camera. “To the nation of the cross: We are back again.”
The Islamic State controls territory spanning northeastern Iraq to northwest Syria. Yet, there is an increasing threat the terrorist organization is gaining ground across the Mediterranean Sea, in highly unstable Libya, where rival governments are competing for power and control of resources.
In February, the Islamic State released a video of jihadis beheading 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians dressed in orange jumpsuits. Although sparking worldwide outrage, the video was hardly the terrorist organization’s first assault against the region’s Christians.
Syria’s ancient Christian communities in the northeastern Al-Hasakah Province came under assault when Islamic State militants kidnapped hundreds as they raided villages on the southern bank of the Khabur River earlier this year.
When the Islamic State overran the Iraqi city of Mosul last summer, Christians were forced to either convert, pay a tax, or face execution — prompting a mass exodus from the city. As militants swept through the town, they converted churches to mosques, confiscated property and robbed citizens as they fled, reports the Guardian.
Many social media users showed solidarity with Mosul’s persecuted Christians by displaying the Arabic letter ن on their Facebook profile pictures or elsewhere online, representing the letter Islamic State jihadis used to mark Christian homes. Pronounced “noon,” it is the first letter of a derogatory Arabic-language word for Christians.
Jihadis spanning Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Afghanistan have all claimed allegiance to the Islamic State. But the Islamic State’s greatest coordination with militants outside Syria and Iraq appears to be in Libya.
This report, by Erica Wenig, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.