Denver Newsroom, Feb 15, 2022 / 16:00 pm
A British human rights campaigner on Tuesday commemorated the seventh anniversary of the martyrdom of 21 men, known as the Coptic martyrs, by the Islamic State.
On Feb. 15, 2015, the Islamic State released a video online, showing masked fighters beheading the men as they knelt on a Libyan beach wearing prison-style orange jumpsuits. The Egyptian government and the Coptic Orthodox Church later confirmed the video's authenticity.
In October 2018, authorities found a mass grave believed to contain the bodies of the 21 men, who had been kidnapped in Libya where they were likely seeking work opportunities.
Lord Alton of Liverpool praised the bravery of all 21 of the men, and highlighted in a particular way the solidarity shown by the lone non-Egyptian, Matthew Ayariga, who chose to be killed rather than abandon his friends. Though Matthew was not a Coptic Christian, and the jihadists told him he would be freed if he rejected Christ, he reportedly responded by saying, “Their God is my God.”