ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — The Coptic Christian community in Anaheim is in mourning after ISIS released a video Sunday showing a mass beheading of 21 Coptic Christian men in Libya.
The men were from Egypt and were executed for their religion.
CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Stacey Butler spoke with a Coptic Christian priest, who says he is praying for the victims’ families – and for the perpetrators.
The video was released by Libyan militants with loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which President Obama condemned on Monday for the murders.
Some 7,000 miles away, at St. Mary & St. Verena Coptic Orthodox Church in Anaheim, Father Joseph Boules says the heinous crime hits close to home.
“I have similar young men that come here to America looking for job opportunities. It could easily have been them if they had ended up in Libya and not the U.S.,” Boules said.
The video, which appeared on the Twitter feed of a website that supports ISIS, shows men in orange jumpsuits being led along the beach, each accompanied by a masked militant.
The Egyptian government declared a seven-day mourning period as news spread quickly to the Egyptian families who lost young men who their country to find work.
Father Boules hopes the families find comfort that the men died martyrs: “The Lord said, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ So we are hopeful for that.”