The beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by forces sympathetic to Islamic State over recent days is sadly not an isolated case. On the contrary, it is the latest of countless outrages perpetrated against Christians in or near the Church’s Biblical heartlands over many years.
The latest victims were migrant workers from Upper Egypt. The announcement by the authorities in Cairo of retaliatory bombing raids on terrorist training camps in Libya should not blind us to an inconvenient truth – that more than 600,000 Christians have left Egypt over the past 30 years under both Islamist and supposedly secular regimes. Many got out because their homes or churches or businesses had been firebombed.