A graphic video of a Christian man being beheaded by Muslim extremists for converting from Islam to Christianity was recently shown on talk shows in Canada and Egypt. Footage of the incident, which reportedly took place in Tunisia, shows a young man being held down like "an animal" with a knife to his throat.
"There is a video on the web right now showing a man having his head cut off slowly and agonizingly, essentially because he has converted to Christianity from Islam," said Michael Coren, host of Canadian program The Arena.
Video footage of the incident shows a young man being held down by masked men. His neck is pulled back, with a knife to his throat. One of the masked men, who was not in the camera's view, chants a number of Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity.
The man holding the knife begins to cut to the cries of "Allahu Akbar!" (or "God is great!"), as the victim appears to be mouthing a prayer. The slicing takes about two minutes before the beheading is complete--upon which they shouted more Islamic cries and slogans of victory.
Coren called the video "grotesque" but said it was not "unique," as more people are being killed for their religious faith in the Middle East.
"There are many, many videos like this," said Coren. "It's usually Christians, sometimes, others. It's always Muslims, generally Sunni mostly, but Shiite too, who are doing this. Cutting off the head is a form of punishment."
Human rights and religious freedom activists are bringing attention to the brutality of the footage but note that these violent killings are being more common, especially in the post Arab-Spring order.
Rev. Majed El Sahfie, founder of One Free World International, listed several of the faith-related killings, including a Catholic priest who was killed in Tunisia, a man whose ears were cut off in Egypt, and an American teacher who was killed in Yeme after being accused of converting people to Christianity.
Sahfie, who is also a Christian convert from Islam, said that Muslim extremists are filling in the political vacuum that was left after the fall of dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen
Responding to Muslim clerics who have criticized discussion on the video as "propaganda for the Christian,"Sahfie said, "If he is a Christian or Jewish or Muslim, Sunni or Shia, Hindu or Buddha, I would act the same way."
"I hope a video like this will bring alive on the massacre that will happen on minorities in the Middle East very, very soon," he said.
Barnabas Aid, a ministry which delivers relief for the persecuted church, is asking Christians to pray over incident as a prayer topic in the month of July.
"Give thanks to God for our Tunisian brother's life and his faith that would not waver, even unto death. Pray that his witness will touch the hearts of his killers and those who have seen the footage of his death and that they will turn to Christ," the ministry wrote in its Prayer Focus update.
The prayer topic request also included a Bible verse: "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:18, NIV)."
WATCH PART OF THE GRAPHIC VIDEO SHOWING BEHEADING (Warning! Video Includes Distrubing Footage):