8 Christians beheaded in Mosul
We share with you an eyewitness report of the persecution of Christians in Iraq. It is gruesome, but it is important that the word gets out. It is important because we must pray for our persecuted brethren and because we must continue to pray -- with all earnestness -- "Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven."
From a pastor in northern Iraq who came to the At the Crossroads conference in May:
"I’m so sorry for sending you such pictures ... but I want you to see in close what Satan is doing here against the Christians and especially against those whom converted into Christianity. This is what ISIS [now the Islamic State is] exactly doing in Nineveh [Province]. [Last week] eight young people were accused by the court of ISIS in Mosul that they had left Islam and converted to Christianity. During noon prayer time of Islam in one of the mosques, they read some verses in Qur’an which talk about conversion then started to scream out (Allahu akbar). They beheaded all eight in front of the people very publicly. "I see the situation is getting worst here in my country. Please pray for us continually for the Christians even in this region [not in the grip of the Islamic State] are frightened and scared and many are trying to leave the country every day."The same pastor reports on the conditions of the Christians who have fled into the Kurdish-controlled Arbil Province. He says that renting a house if very difficult in his city. "Four families are living with us now in the same apartment of the church. The place is really very narrow and not enough even to one family."
[Photos: The heads of 8 Christians executed for apostasy in Mosul, Iraq, hang from power lines. The photos were provided by a pastor in northern Iraq.]
The Islamic State gave Christians in Mosul and the surrounding areas until noon July 19 to decide whether to convert to Islam, leave, pay the minority tax or die. One of the families staying with the pastor reported that as the deadline approached, they saw some Christian families decide to convert. The rest rejected the jizya (religious tax) and preferred to leave the city.
On the border of Nineveh and Erbil provinces, the Islamic State checkpoint stopped them. They were told to hand over all their jewels, silver, money and extra clothes. The females were told to take off their bras and shorts because they are not allowed in Islam.
One of the girls was taken away while she fled with her family into Erbil, the pastor said. Only after four days of continual sexual harassment and $150,000 ransom was she released. Last week, another Christian village which is already under the protection of the Peshmarga (Kurdish militia) were told to leave the village within 48 hours or it would be bombed. The pastor says, "We need you to pray for us to be able to help them more in this difficult circumstances. Please keep praying and let your eyes keep open."
Call to action
To contribute financially
Barnabas Fund -- "The mission of the Barnabas Fund is to support Christians where they are in a minority and suffer discrimination, oppression and persecution as a consequence of their faith."
Voice of Ishmael (via Commission to Every Nation) -- Bringing hope that changes communities in the Middle East and North Africa.
Christ Church Jerusalem -- Please write "Iraqi refugees" in the memo line.