Sometimes the stories I feel compelled to write about seem like “too much.” I have felt my heart break numerous times since I began writing for Eagle Rising… and this is one of those hard stories.
The Reverend Canon Andrew White is the Anglican Vicar of Baghdad, and he’s become famous for being one of the few sources of news about Christians from inside ISIS influenced areas. Sadly the news from inside Iraq does not seem to be getting better. Just last week, Reverend White sat down for an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) to talk about some of the brutal methods ISIS is using to wipe out Christianity in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS is constantly looking for ways to terrorize the local population (and the rest of the world). They’ve accomplished this by being merciless and violent, but they’ve also used shame. ISIS has done their job well, pushing more than 250,000 Christians into Kurdish controlled Northern Iraq.
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Rev. White recounted two particularly horrifying stories from occupied Iraq. Both stories were of ISIS’ attempts to force their non-Muslim victims to convert to Islam and both have terrible endings – one of violence and one of shame.
First the Reverend recounted the story of four Iraqi Christian children, all under the age of 15, who were beheaded by ISIS after refusing to renounce their faith. The told the ISIS murderers that they would always “love” and “follow” Jesus.
“ISIS turned up and they said to the children, ‘you say the words that you will follow Muhammad.’ The Children, all under 15, four of them, they said, ‘no, we love Yasua [Jesus]. We have always loved Yasua. We have always followed Yasua. Yasua has always been with us. [The Militants] said, ‘say the words!’ [The Children] said, ‘no, we can’t do that.’ They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry. They are my children. That is what we have been going through. That is what we are going through.”
Oh, how my heart breaks for my little brothers and sisters in the faith. I have no words to describe the kind of sorrow I felt when first reading Brother White’s account. The suffering, the pain, the terror that our brothers and sisters are enduring half a world away is horrific. Yet, here we sit in comfort, unconcerned with their pain as we allow our politicians to waste our tax dollars on ridiculous “studies” and hopeless programs. Instead, we could be using that money to help save our fellow Christians… and others being persecuted by the monsters at ISIS.
The second story that Rev. White recounted was of a father who was faced with a similarly twisted choice.
ISIS attacked a Christian family and demanded that the father say the words of conversion and convert to Islam… or they would behead his children. The father agonized, but in the end said the words of conversion and saved his family. He then called Reverend White in shame and despair…
“[Militants] say to one man, an adult, ‘you say the words of conversion or we will kill all of your children.’ He was desperate. He said the words. Then he phoned me and said ‘[Father], I said the words, does that mean Yasua doesn’t love me anymore? I have always loved Yasua. I said those words because I couldn’t see my children be killed.’ I said, ‘Jesus still loves you. He will always love you.'”
I cannot imagine the terrible feeling of having to make a choice like that – even if I knew that my conversion would be false. Just imagining myself rejecting Jesus, who has done so much for me and loved me so well, turns my stomach… but coupled with the thought of these monsters threatening my children? It’s sickening. I pray for peace for this brother and that he would realize that he has no shame to bear, because it has already been borne by our Savior.
The Christian Post also has a few other horrible ISIS themed notes that you need to know about…
ISIS mistreatment of children and religious minorities goes well beyond just the forced Islamic conversions. White noted that many children, not just the four he previously mentioned, are being either beheaded and their bodies cut in half.
In addition, Yazidi refugees interviewed by the Daily Mail say that ISIS not only systematically kills yazidi and Christian men and women, they have also brutally cut the throats of babies. One 13-year-old Yazidi from one particular Yazidi village claims that the militants killed over 100 kids from his village.
ISIS militants are also kidnapping and selling off baby girls as sex slaves. A recent pricing guide released by Islamic State leadership reveals that Christian and Yazidi girls aged 1 to 9 years old are being sold as sex slaves for just $172.
We live in a broken and disgusting world. I wonder if you understand that the people who have fallen under the persecution of ISIS are just like you and me… only they live in the Middle East. These are men and women, husbands, mothers, sons, daughters, businessmen, teachers, farmers, doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers, people with families, friends and dreams. These are not just Muslims, but CHRISTIANS, who worship at their local church on Sunday and pray before for their children’s futures. These people are our family and they are dying horribly gruesome and painful deaths. Who will speak for them? We must help. We must.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com