Al-AOUR, Minya Egypt – The residents of al-Aour, a dusty village in Minya governorate some 250 km south of Cairo, are struggling to come to terms with their loss. Last week, 13 residents of the village, all of whom were Coptic Christians, were executed by Islamic state fighters in Libya.
When news of the execution broke (IS released a graphic video of the killing on the internet) women and children in homes across the village, which is home to 2,500 Christians, could be heard screaming.
When I visited al-Aour last week people were sad and dismayed at the kiling. Others seemed proud, calling the fallen “martyrs” and “heroes.”
“I am happy for my relatives. They had faith in God. They had faith in Jesus Christ. And that is what matters,” Bishop Feloubes Fawzy, 43, who lost his nephew and four of his cousins, told Middle East Eye.
“They died for their faith. They died for Christianity.”
Fifi Shehata, whose father Maged, 41, was killed also felt that their death was not in vain.
“My father died like a lion. He did not bow his head down. IS has no religion or mercy. I am now from the city of the martyrs. The city of the brave lions. May God forgive the killers. We don’t have hatred towards them – this is Christianity. God forgives sinners, so shall we,” she said