The mother of Egyptian Christian Milad Makeen Zaky expressed no regrets about their faith. Her son was one of the 21 Egyptians beheaded by the terror group known as ISIS on a beach in Libya.
In a video posted by International Christian Concern on Facebook Tuesday, Zaky's mother was grateful that her son stayed true to the faith until ISIS executed him on the beach. The overall video, which had English subtitles, lasted under 30 seconds.
"I thank God that my son kept the faith and died for the cross because he was the son of Christ from his birth, not my son," she said. "From his childhood, he was going to Sunday school, reading the holy Bible, attending the prayer meetings in the church continuously."
Zaky's mother added that her son had to leave their home in Egypt to find work abroad. He ended up working in Libya.
"He had to leave us and travel abroad to seek a living because he couldn't find good work here," she said. "But we thank God that he kept the faith."
It's safe to say that many Egyptian Christians like Zaky's mother still maintain their faith and remain unbroken in the midst of the instability caused by ISIS. However, other Egyptians have decided to take down the terror group by resorting to punchlines and parody, according to Leila Fadel of NPR.
"One of the self-proclaimed Islamic State's biggest weapons has been its terrifying propaganda," Fadel wrote. "Highly-produced videos of brute violence are its hallmark: a man being burned alive in a cage; Christians being beheaded on a beach in Libya; a child being used to execute a suspected traitor."
Fadel reported that ISIS used a certain melody known as "Salil as-Sawaram" ("Clanking of the Swords" in English) as an anthem to strike fear in the Middle East, especially in Egypt. In response, people across the Middle East have taken that song and made it a punchline in videos mocking that propaganda.
"In some of the parodies, the melody morphs into a dance song," Fadel wrote. "People pretending to be ISIS militants holding fake swords to kneeling captors' necks, burst into dance. Even children are getting in on the fun."
Although some people thought that sort of parody contained "distasteful humor," Fadel argued that the satire was intended to defy ISIS. For instance, Ahmed Shehata, a doctor, wanted to surprise his wife, who was scared of ISIS after watching their propaganda videos on the Internet.
"She was having nightmares after watching ISIS videos," Shehata said about his wife, Shaimaa Daif.
According to Fadel, Shehata created a plan with his wife's brother to conduct a mock ISIS performance on his wedding day. He and Daif were placed in a cage on the dance floor, and the groom's friends wore masks and carried knives while playing the infamous song; the mood then switched to dancing music and party fun.
"I wanted to take away the power the videos have," Shehata said, adding that the effort worked on Daif. "To show my wife they are something to laugh at, not to fear."
However, Daif emphasized to Fadel that the parody was meant to tell people not to be afraid of ISIS, not to mock those who were killed by them.
"No one can take away our humor and our happiness," Daif said.
Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah reinforced Daif's point to Fadel, adding that comedy can play "a subversive role on political issues."
"They don't want to be laughed at," Obeidallah said of ISIS. "They want you to be afraid of them, to succumb to them."
The comedian also thought that the people mocking ISIS were quite brave to do so, given the instability of where they lived.
"It's a way of actually dealing with it when something is so horrific; sometimes comedy is the only way you can actually process it," Obeidallah said.
However, Egyptian Christian Hanna Aziz Kamel told NPR that such efforts might not work against the terror group, although he wasn't offended by the parodies. While he barely escaped from ISIS, his friends and relatives met their fate through the militants.
"It's like throwing pebbles at a monster," Kamel said.