Sinai/Egypt: Two men beheaded for apostasy by IS
Christians and Sufis suffer from Islamic State terror - Egypt must punish the crimes (Press Release)
After two men were beheaded by Islamic State militants on the Sinai Peninsula, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has demanded Egypt’s government to punish those who are responsible. “So far, the identities of the victims are not yet known. They could either be moderate Muslim Sufis or Christians,” said STP-Director Ulrich Delius in Göttingen on Thursday. “The cruel attacks of the IS against liberal Muslims and members of other religious groups must not go unpunished.” On Tuesday, the terrorist organization had published a video via the often-used telecommunications channel Telegram, showing the beheading of two elderly men in the desert. They were said to have been guilty of apostasy and witchcraft, and they had apparently been sentenced to death by a Sharia Court. No further details regarding the circumstances or victims’ identities were given.
“The crimes of the IS have to be punished in order to curb the acts of terror against the civilian population of Sinai,” stated the human rights organization in a fax letter to Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Further, the human rights organization demanded better protection of the religious minorities and the liberal Muslims.
The authorities of the country have so far refused to provide any information concerning the execution or the identity of the victims. Evidence suggests that the victims could be Sufis, as the IS has repeatedly accused Sufis of witchcraft before. The Muslim mystics are persecuted by Muslim extremists in several countries (Libya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran). The recent IS-video also shows how the religious police of the terrorist organization charges a meeting of Sufis. Many of them are arrested and forced to sign a statement in which they nally have to leave Sufism in writing.
However, the victims could also be Christians. 143 Coptic families fled from the north of Sinai in early March 2017, after seven Christians had been murdered by extremists in February 2017. During the last few months, IS has stepped up its attacks against religious minorities in Egypt, in order to spread fear among members of other religions and to drive them from the country. This week, the neighboring country Israel warned its citizens to leave Sinai immediately as IS will probably carry out more attacks in the crisis region.
Header Photo: Nicole Salazar via Flickr