The Coptic Church in Britain’s leader, Bishop Angaelos, has addressed Islamic State terrorists who murdered more than 100 Christians last year and told them that God loves them and that he believes they can still be transformed.
In a statement to The Sunday Times, Bishop Angaelos admitted that his message may not be received well but said it may at least cast a shadow of doubt in the minds of people bent on harming others. The Coptic leader urged Christians to look at things through God’s eyes, the Christian Post relayed.
“You are loved by God, your Creator for He created you in His image and according to His likeness, and placed you on this Earth for much greater things,” Bishop Angaelos told ISIS terrorists while speaking to The Sunday Times. “You are loved by me and by millions like me because I, and we, believe in transformation.”
Since December 2016, at least 117 Coptic Christians have lost their lives in attacks claimed by ISIS, the Coptic Orthodox Church in Europe said. On Palm Sunday, church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria left 45 more Christians dead. Another attack in Minya killed 29 believers on their way to a monastery.
Despite the string of deadly attacks targeting Coptic Christians, the community of minorities has forgiven the perpetrators of these killings. Bishop Angaelos previously told the Post that people have not sought revenge despite their anger over these brutal attacks.
In an interview with Japanese TV network Asahi last month, Patriarch Tawadros II of the Coptic Church in Egypt called for prayers for people who attack Christians and churches. Like Angaelos, he also expressed confidence in the transformation of a person’s heart through the power of prayer, the Independent Catholic News reported.
In addition, Patriarch Tawadros said the attacks on Christians were meant to shake the bond between Copts and Muslims in Egypt. Along this line of discussion, he warned religious leaders against justifying acts of terror in the name of their faith, saying they must not allow intolerance to creep into their teachings.