Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, has told of how Christian children in Iraq were beheaded by ISIS forces for refusing to convert to Islam. Around 250,000 Christians have fled northern Iraq in the face of ISIS. They were the last remaining Christians in a region that had been home to more than one and a half million Christians before the war.
White, who has been ordered by the Archbishop of Canterbury to leave Baghdad for fears over his safety, spoke movingly of the plight of the Christians during a recent interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Christian Today has reported.
“Things were bad in Baghdad, there were bombs and shootings and our people were being killed, so many of our people fled back to Nineveh, their traditional home,” he said. “It was safer, but then one day, ISIS – Islamic State. They came in and they hounded all of them out. They killed huge numbers, they chopped their children in half, they chopped their heads off, and they moved north and it was so terrible what happened.”
He told of how ISIS militants were forcing people, including children, to convert to Islam under threat of death. “They came to one of our people the other day, one of the Christians. They said to one man, an adult, ‘Either you say the words of conversion to Islam or we kill all your children.’ He was desperate, he said the words. And then he phoned me and said, ‘Abouna [Father], I said the words, does that mean that Yesua [Jesus] doesn’t love me any more?’ I said, ‘Yesua still loves you, he will always loves you.’
“Islamic State turned up and said to the children, you say the words that you will follow Mohammed. The children, all under 15, four of them, said ‘No, we love Yesua, we have always loved Yesua, we have always followed Yesua, Yesua has always been with us.’ They said, ‘Say the words.’ They said, ‘No, we can’t.’ They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry.”