Hon­our­ing the slain

ME­MO­RIAL FOR OVER­SEAS CHRIS­TIANS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page - Jaime Shurmer

MO­TORISTS on Shep­per­ton Road in East Vic­to­ria Park may have no­ticed 21 or­ange jump­suits pinned along the fence-line of the St Mary and Archangel Michael Cop­tic Or­tho­dox Church.

The ef­fi­gies were erected af­ter the church held a me­mo­rial ser­vice on Tues­day, Fe­bru­ary 24, in hon­our of the 21 Cop­tic Chris­tians killed in Libya last month.

Fa­ther Abram Ab­del­malek said he hoped the dis­play would raise aware­ness of the plight of Cop­tic (Egyptian) Chris­tians in Libya, where up to 80,000 are un­able to leave due to ISIL con­trol.

Libya is Africa’s fourth largest na­tion, with a pop­u­la­tion of about six mil­lion peo­ple.

The Egyptian gov­ern­ment and the Cop­tic Church con­firmed the au­then­tic­ity of a video re­leased by the Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant (ISIL) of the Egyptian work­ers, all wear­ing or­ange jump­suits, be­headed near a wa­ter­front in the prov­ince of Tripoli.

“I don’t know any of the 21 per­son­ally but there are peo­ple in our church who are from the same towns and vil­lages,” Fr Abram said.

He said he also felt Australia was sup­port­ing the wrong group of peo­ple and called for more sup­port for the Egyptian peo­ple who suc­cess­fully re­jected any Is­lamic gov­ern­ment in their coun­try last year.

He warned the public of the dan­ger of al­low­ing any ex­trem­ism in Australia.

Fr Abram said Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott sent a let­ter to the Cop­tic Church in Mel­bourne, con­demn­ing the killings and of­fer­ing sup­port to the church, but he felt Mr Ab­bott had fallen short by not mak­ing a public state­ment.

He said a state­ment by For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Julie Bishop about the deaths and posted on her web­site on Fe­bru­ary 16 was ap­pre­ci­ated.

“The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment strongly con­demns the mass be­head­ing overnight of 21 Egyptian Cop­tic Chris­tians by Dae­shaf­fil­i­ated ex­trem­ists in Libya,” the state­ment read.

“This bar­baric act closely fol­lows the heinous mur­ders of a Jor­da­nian pi­lot and two Ja­panese na­tion­als by Daesh.

“Such atroc­i­ties only strengthen our re­solve to work with our part­ners to counter the threat posed by Daesh and its af­fil­i­ates.”

Pic­ture: David Baylis

Fa­ther Abram Ab­del­malek with ef­fi­gies at the St Mary and Archangel Michael Cop­tic Or­tho­dox Church in East Vic­to­ria Park.

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