The brother of two of the 21 Coptic Christians murdered in Libya last week has thanked their killers for including the men's declaration of faith in the video they made of their beheadings.
Speaking on a live prayer and worship programme on Christian channel SAT-7 ARABIC yesterday, Beshir Kamel said that he was proud of his brothers Bishoy Estafanos Kamel (25) and Samuel Estafanos Kamel (23) because they were "a badge of honour to Christianity".
Harrowing scenes of the murders have been seen around the world. The last words of some of those killed were "Lord Jesus Christ".
Beshir Kamel thanked ISIS for not editing out the men's declaration of belief in Christ because he said this had strengthened his own faith. He added that the families of the ex-patriate workers are "congratulating one another" and not in despair: "We are proud to have this number of people from our village who have become martyrs," he told the programme.
He said: "Since the Roman era, Christians have been martyred and have learned to handle everything that comes our way. This only makes us stronger in our faith because the Bible told us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us."
The men were captured by Islamic State in December and January. Kamel welcomed the air strikes launched in response by the Egyptian government, saying: "Only the length of the time period when we didn't know where they were justified the air strikes for us. If they had been martyred on the same day they were kidnapped, we wouldn't have asked for any retaliation."
Asked by host Maher Fayez what he would say if he were asked to forgive ISIS, he related what his mother said she would do if she saw one of the men who killed her son. "My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask [him] to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes because he was the reason her son entered the kingdom of heaven."
Invited to pray for his brothers' killers, Beshir prayed: "Dear God, please open their eyes to be saved and to quit their ignorance and the wrong teachings they were taught."
Within hours of SAT-7 posting the clip on Facebook it had been viewed 96,000 times. Since then it has received over 110,000 views and been shared nearly 5,000 times.