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ISIS victims spark call for prayer

NASHVILLE (BP) — Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore is among a coalition of religious leaders calling Christians to observe a minute of silence this Sunday (Feb. 22) followed by prayer for the families of 21 Egyptians — all, or nearly all, Coptic Christians — who were beheaded by ISIS terrorists.

Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, is joined in the coalition by Mathew Staver, of the Liberty University School of Law; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership and Conference; and others.

In addition to calling for prayer, the coalition is urging President Obama and Congress to do more in addressing the persecution of Christians by ISIS and other Islamic extremists. Additionally, the Christian leaders are calling the United Nations to convene a summit on Christian persecution around the world, according to a press release from A. Larry Ross Communications.

“In a time when the world is on fire with the threat of Islamic jihadist extremism and religious persecution, the church must be the people who know how to engage our neighbors with the Gospel that reconciles,” Moore said. “At the same time, our government must do its duty, and Christians are right to pray for swift action against this terror. We stand in solidarity with our persecuted brothers and sisters, as the people of the cross.”

Following ISIS’ release of a video Feb. 15 showing the murder of the 21 Egyptians, Moore wrote a blog post calling Christians to pray for both the terrorists’ defeat as well as their salvation. (See Baptist Press story here.)

Text that accompanied the ISIS video is addressed to “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church,” according to news reports. The terrorists in the video are identified with a Libyan group that allied itself with the Islamic State last year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Other Christians joining the call for prayer and action include television producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey; James Robison, founder of LIFE Outreach International; Doug Beacham, general superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church; and Glenn Burris, president of the Foursquare Church.

Rodriquez said Christianity is “the place where conviction marries compassion and truth joins hands with love,” according to the press release.

“We stand convicted and convinced that terror and intolerance cannot, and will not, extinguish the light of God’s grace, truth and love,” Rodriguez said. “We hope leaders around the world will join us in honoring those who have lost their lives, praying for those suffering and repudiating all acts of terror.”

More information, including a video for churches to play prior to observing the minute of silence, is available at 21martyrs.com.

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