A Coptic Christian leader has called on the FBI Civil Rights Unit to open an investigation to determine whether or not the grisly killing of a New Jersey family was religiously motivated.

Support pin for slain Coptic family quotes Matthew 10:28 (photo ? Carrie Devorah)

In a statement, Monir A. Dawoud, M.D., acting president of the American Coptic Association, quoted from the FBI’s website, which says a “significant number of [civil rights] cases are initiated based on media reports” or “complaints from community interest groups.”

As WorldNetDaily reported, Hossam Armanious, a Coptic Christian from Jersey City, N.J., was found in his home Jan. 14 with his wife and two daughters, bound and gagged with their throats slashed.

Armanious, a native of Egpyt, was known to frequent Internet chat services to advocate for Christianity, often debating with Muslims.

Two months before his murder, according to authorities, Armanious received a death threat from a Muslim PalTalk user: “You’d better stop this bull … or we are going to track you down like a chicken and kill you.”

Armanious also was a leader of an online ministry to the Muslim-American community.

Dawoud, a New Jersey surgeon, said in a statement: “Just the thought that this family might have been killed for professing Christian beliefs should be enough to justify a bias investigation.”

The Hudson County Prosecutor’s office leads four other local and federal law-enforcement agencies in the investigation of the massacre. Thus far, neither a federal nor state civil rights or bias unit has been called in to make a determination as to whether this was a hate crime, Dawoud points out.

“Just yesterday in Fayoum, Egypt, it was reported that two Christian women were kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. Unfortunately these tactics are not new to us. I pray that we have not arrived at the point where Americans have to fear for their lives because of what they believe, and how they worship God,” said Dawoud.

U.S. Copts Association President Michael Meunier acknowledged in a news conference last month that the manner of the slayings was consistent with passages in the Quran that describe how to kill an infidel.

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