A Coptic martyrs museum has opened in Egypt to commemorate the 21 Christians beheaded by the Islamic State on a Libyan beach in 2015 because they refused to renounce their faith in Christ.
The world was shocked after the Islamic State released an execution video on Feb. 15, 2015, showing the decapitation of nearly two dozen migrant workers, 20 of whom were Christians from Egypt and one who was a Christian from Ghana.
The video was titled: “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross.”
On the fifth anniversary of that horror, Coptic Bishop Bevnotious of Samalout inaugurated a new museum that honors those killed.
According to the online magazine Cairo Scene, the new museum is housed in the Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Homeland.
The church, built in the poor village of Al-Aour in the Minya governate, opened in February 2018 on the third anniversary of the execution video’s release. The church’s construction was funded by the Egyptian government, which is led by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Al-Aour is the village where 13 of the workers killed in the video were from. The church has become a pilgrimage site for many Christians since it is the final resting place for the 21 martyrs.
The museum will include a documentary panorama that will teach viewers about how the 21 men were kidnapped and executed. The museum also features a shrine with the remains of the martyrs and the coffins that transported them from Libya to Egypt.
A Catholic press agency reports that the museum features exhibits on the victims’ lives.
In addition to the museum, a memorial honoring the martyrs was also inaugurated.
The memorial features a 13-foot tall statue of Jesus Christ with His arms outstretched, open to the statues of the 21 victims kneeling before Him, seen here.
In the widely shared execution video from 2015, the victims were shown kneeling in a line before their captors right before they were beheaded. Their bodies were then thrown into a mass grave. Their bodies were later discovered by Libya’s interior ministry in 2017.
As Egypt ranks as the 16th worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution on Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List, Coptic Christians have on many occasions faced discrimination and persecution in the Muslim-majority country.
Several attacks against Coptic Christians over the years have gained international headlines.
In May 2017, 29 Copts were killed while traveling to a desert monastery in Minya when their bus was attacked by Islamic radicals. A similar bus attack occurred near the same monastery in November 2018 in which seven were killed and at least 20 were injured.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith
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