ISIS Releases Video Claiming to Have Executed Ethiopian Christians

ISIS Releases Video Claiming to Have Executed Ethiopian Christians

While not confirmed as authentic yet, ISIS has released yet another video. This time, they are claiming to have killed 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

A still from the video purportedly showing ISIS executing Christians from Ethiopia  (photo: AP)
A still from the video purportedly showing ISIS executing Christians from Ethiopia (photo: AP)
From the New York Times:

During the last five minutes of the half-hour video, the video cuts back and forth between scenes in the southern desert and a beach along the coast, at one point displaying both with a split screen. Both were filmed with the same sophisticated camera angles and editing that have distinguished other Islamic State films from indigenous Libyan videos.

Masked fighters lead a row of bound captives dressed in black into the desert and then shoot each of the prisoners in the back of the head. Another group of masked fighters leads a row of prisoners in orange jumpsuits along a beach and then beheads each of them with a long knife. The video shows fighters placing the severed heads on the bodies lying on the sand as bloody surf washes over them.

“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 at the camera. “To the nation of the cross: We are back again.”

The Ethiopian government has not been able to confirm that any of their citizens were executed.

“Nonetheless, the Ethiopian government condemns the atrocious act,” government spokesman Redwan Hussein said.

He said Ethiopia, which does not have an embassy in Libya, would help repatriate Ethiopians if they wanted to leave Libya.

The video is well-crafted, according to those who have watched it in its entirety (it runs over 30 minutes long), and it is quite clearly meant to be a threat to Christians living in areas that ISIS is trying to claim for itself.

The narrator repeatedly uses a derogatory term for Christians that is something like calling them Nazarenes. Yet much of the video is devoted to testimonials from people speaking Arabic with Syrian or perhaps Iraqi accents who say they are Christians living happily under the Islamic State in Aleppo, Raqqa and elsewhere. All say that they live freely after paying the tax; it is impossible to know how much coercion they may have felt at the time.

For those who refuse to convert or pay the tax, the narrator promises death and destruction, and scenes of Islamic State fighters desecrating the churches of Mosul illustrate the threat. “The Christians in Mosul have chosen their own destiny,” the narrator warns.

The video then moves to what the narrator describes as areas of Libya under the Islamic State’s rule. A short scene depicts what appear to be African migrants converting to Islam and then being hugged by Islamic State fighters.

After that, the video cuts to the far longer processional scenes depicting rows of African migrants escorted through the desert and along the beach. For those who refuse Islam or jizya, the narrator says, “We owe nothing except the edge of the sword.”

After the confirmed execution of Coptic Christians in Libya by ISIS, and the targeted executions of Christian students by Al Qaeda-linked group Al-Shabaab at Garissa University in Kenya, it is increasingly clear that militant Islam sees itself at war with Christians specifically, despite the past whitewashing by the Obama administration to avoid pointing out that Christians have been targeted by ISIS.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations went to great lengths to stress the “Islam is a religion of peace” talking point. If this most recent video is proved to be authentic, and another group of Christians have been murdered for their faith, that talking point needs to be left on the ash heap of history unless peace-loving Muslims can stop those who are murdering innocents in the name of their faith. And it is long past time for the president to stop blaming events from a thousand years ago for the atrocities happening right now. Not that I expect that this president has the intestinal fortitude or the moral courage to do more than express his “outrage” in a press release. This is yet another issue that he will leave for the next president to deal with. God help us all.

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1 Comment
  • Kim Quade says:

    I heard this morning that the video was confirmed by the Ethiopian government. When Obama makes his statement concerning this atrocity, as he certainly will, will he once again ignore the fact that these people — like the students in Kenya and the Coptic Christians — were butchered because they were Christian?

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