Absent from a 192-word statement from White House press secretary Josh Earnest condemning the brutal killings were the words “Christian,” “Coptic,” “Islam” or “Muslim.”

On the eve of a White House summit on “countering violent extremism” that has already drawn complaints from some Muslim groups, the administration in its response to the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts has not mentioned the religious affiliation of either the killers or victims.

Absent from a 192-word statement from White House press secretary Josh Earnest condemning the brutal killings were the words “Christian,” “Coptic,” “Islam” or “Muslim.”

There was a single reference to “faith” – “ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds. It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity.”

“ISIL” is one of several acronyms for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also called simply “Islamic State” or “Da’esh,” an Arabic acronym. Earnest’s statement did not spell out the group’s full name – thus sidestepping the word “Islamic” altogether – calling it merely “ISIL.”

In a gruesome video posted online the jihadist group claimed responsibility for the mass beheadings of Christians abducted in Libya.

The video was entitled “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross” and the victims were described as “crusaders.” An article in ISIS’ propaganda publication urged Muslims everywhere to kill “crusaders,” promising those who do “a great reward … on Judgment Day.”

Pope Francis did not shy away from the clear religious motivation behind the mass beheading.

“They were murdered just because they were Christians,” he said during a meeting with a Scottish church leader, calling the victims “brothers, who died simply because they professed their faith in Jesus Christ.”

Written by PATRICK GOODENOUGH-CNS NEWS
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