An eye for an eye, reap what you sow, what goes around comes around: choose your favorite aphorism for the wheel of karma turning, as the Christian Post relays a report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights about a Syrian Christian fighter beheading an ISIS militant. The veracity of this report has been challenged by the Catholic bishop of Aleppo.
According to the Observatory, “The Christian fighter from the minority Assyrian community, who was not identified, carried out the execution Thursday in the village of Tal Shamiram in Syria’s Hasakeh province, where Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, holds large areas of the countryside.”
This was explicitly done as an act of revenge against ISIS, which is noted for its beheadings, although they are no slouches in various other forms of torture and execution. One of their latest atrocities is a video showing a Syrian prisoner of the Islamic State, clad in the usual orange jumpsuit, being forced to dig his own grave before his head was cut off.
The Christian Post relates the following tally from the Observatory: “ISIS has executed 2,618 people, including 1,511 civilians, since last June, when it declared its ‘caliphate.’ The overall executions included those of 23 children and 32 women. The executions were carried out mostly by beheading, shooting or stoning. ISIS has also executed 139 of its own members for ‘exceeding the limits in religion and spying for foreign countries,’ mostly after they were trying to go back to their homes.”
The Catholic Apostolic vicar of Aleppo, Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, denounced the report of a revenge beheading as “unreliable and unverifiable,” according to the missionary news service Agenzia Fides.
The bishop described the report as a “manipulation of information” intended to “multiply the violence and horrors of this conflict.” He noted that over 230 Assyrian Christians are still held hostage by jihadis, and argued only a “reckless person” would jeopardize their safety by carrying out a revenge beheading.
Khazen further argued that such an act would be contrary to Christian teachings. “We Christians do not justify any revenge or violence with religious issues. The only revenge we know is forgiveness, in order to also be a sign of light for all. Vendettas only deepen the wounds, and lengthen the spiral of hatred,” he explained. “This feeling is in all Christians, especially in the simplest, who live suffering like lambs among wolves: they are the first to say that the vicious circle of violence and revenge must be interrupted by someone, and this is the only way not to succumb and open paths to reconciliation.”