After video surfaced of Islamic State militants carrying out a mass execution of Christians in Libya, many political leaders immediately spoke out to condemn the beheadings and pledge support to defeat the jihadists.
“I am appalled by the murder of Christians in Libya, a simply barbaric and inhumane act. My thoughts are with the families of those killed and the UK stands united with the Egyptian people during this period of mourning,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement. "Our efforts to defeat the monstrosity of Islamist extremism must not waver.”
Similarly, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed outrage in his statement on the targeted attack.
“I am outraged and saddened by the beheadings of Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya by groups linked to ISIL,” he said. “On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed and to the Coptic community here in Canada, who will feel the loss especially grievously.
“Canada is proud to stand with its coalition partners in the fight against ISIL. We will continue to stand firmly together against these terrorists who threaten the peace and freedom we hold so dear at home and that we wish for those abroad.”
So what did the White House have to say?
The United States condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists. We offer our condolences to the families of the victims and our support to the Egyptian government and people as they grieve for their fellow citizens. ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds. It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity. This wanton killing of innocents is just the most recent of the many vicious acts perpetrated by ISIL-affiliated terrorists against the people of the region, including the murders of dozens of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, which only further galvanizes the international community to unite against ISIL.
This heinous act once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya, the continuation of which only benefits terrorist groups, including ISIL. We call on all Libyans to strongly reject this and all acts of terrorism and to unite in the face of this shared and growing threat. We continue to strongly support the efforts of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General Bernardino Leon to facilitate formation of a national unity government and help foster a political solution in Libya.
Unlike Harper and Cameron’s statements, the Obama administration’s made no mention of the fact that the victims of the mass execution were Christians and that they were killed because they were Christians.
It’s not as though this part of the equation could be easily missed. A caption in the video, which was even titled “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross,” described the victims as “the people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church.”
Yes, “innocent” Egyptian “citizens” were murdered, but they were killed because they were Christians—and that matters.