Persecution rarely makes it on camera. For most Westerners, persecution looks like an out of focus, underexposed, distant blur. Yet our persecuted brothers and sisters face it in high resolution and surround sound every day.
That’s why we launched “Persecution In Focus,” our first video contest intended to portray the reality of suffering for Christ in sharp focus, factual exposure, and unflinching zoom. We’ve called contestants to engage as many viewers as possible in a heart moving experience that opens their eyes to the persecution of their brothers and sisters around the world, calls them to prayer, and provides them with a means to help alleviate their suffering through the ministry of ICC.
Some of the notable contestants so far have written their own original song for the video, interviewed their friends before and after showing them real, graphic scenes of persecution, and dedicated their video to the Christians suffering in North Korea.
With all the submissions in, we’re now inviting you to help us decide the finalists! Just click here to view their submissions and vote for your favorite. After you vote — comment and tell us what you think! Which video is your favorite and why?
A decade ago, it was not uncommon for beheadings captured on video to be released by the Taliban, usually a warning to the West to stay out of Afghanistan’s internal affairs. The now-too-familiar executions began with a recitation of Quranic verses, then a jolt to the victim’s neck and a slow severing of the head with a small and sometimes dull knife, and finally ended with a chant of “Allah Akbar” or “God is great” while blood flowed from the decapitated corpse. Some notable killings included Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002 and U.S. defense contractor Nick Berg in Iraq in 2004.
Recently, President Obama announced a pullout plan that will begin reducing troops this year, just one indication that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is closer to completion and the ability for the Taliban to carry out their brutal beheadings has been somewhat constrained. Yet, all the while, Afghan Christians have been warning ICC that without a U.S. presence inside Afghanistan, they will be left defenseless and slaughtered if their religious identity becomes known. Their pleas for protection took on new urgency in early April when another video, this time a blatant warning to Afghan converts to Christianity, was smuggled out of the country by an Afghan Christian and immediately sent to ICC. “Please watch this and forward it to the world so they know how serious it is in Afghanistan to be a Christian,” a leader of the Afghan Christian refugee community in Delhi wrote to ICC.
In the two-minute video, believed to be filmed early this year, four Afghan militants who claim to be the Taliban behead a Christian man named Abdul Latif in Enjeel, a village south of the town Herat. The men, wearing explosive belts and kaffiya head scarves to cover their faces, pin Latif to the ground under their feet while he cries for mercy. “For God’s sake, I have children,” Latif pleads. The militants go on to announce his fate. “Your sentence [is] to be beheaded. Whoever changes his religion should be executed.” A blade is then thrust into Latif’s neck. Once decapitated, his head rests on top of his chest while the militants proclaim “Allah Akbar.”
We have decided to make this video available to the public due to the urging of our Christian contacts in Afghanistan who asked that it be forwarded to the world so that they would understand “how serious it is in Afghanistan to be a Christian.” The video is not intended to shock or exploit, it is simply intended to honor the wishes of Christians in Afghanistan and show the horrifying reality that many believers face around the world today for their faith in Christ. We have attempted to describe what you will see if you choose to watch this video in the paragraph above, so please understand that before you press play. If you do not wish to watch the video, a translated transcript has been provided below the video.
WARNING: The following video is extremely graphic and shows a man being completely decapitated with a blade. Nothing is censored or cleaned up. Do NOT watch this video if you are unprepared or unwilling to see that level of real violence.
Full translation of video:
Victim: For God’s sake, I have children. [He repeats this sentence many times]. I serve your religion. I serve you, my dear brother, ask me first. Let me speak, then kill me. Ask me once. I serve you. I have children.
Talib 1: [Reading a verse in Arabic: "In the name of Allah, peace be on the leader of all human beings, and the high priest of all holy warriors, Mohammad, peace be upon him."] All praise be to our creator, almighty Allah, who helped and blessed the Holy Warriors of the Alfateh Movement. The Holy Warriors of Qenahat belonged to the Afghanistan Islamic Emirates, so we can implement the commandment of Allah on this infidel whose name is Abdul Latif from the (Zefareh/Zekhareh/Sefareh) village of the Enjeel District of Ancient Herat Province, so that he is punished according to his wrong deed. He is punished according to the commandment of Allah as a warning to other infidels.
[A verse is recited from the Quran: "Holy and Almighty Allah says, 'You who joined with pagans, cut their head.'"]
You’re sentenced to be beheaded.
[A verse is recited from the Hadith: "Mohammad (peace be upon him) says, 'Whoever changes his religion (converts), should be executed."]
Praise and peace …….. Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar (God is great)!
Victim: I ate your leftovers, please leave me. I ate your leftovers, please leave me.
[Victim is beheaded.]
All Taliban: Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar!
Talib 2: Come to this side.
Talib 2: Why didn’t you behead him from the backside?
Talib 3: Go away.
Talib 4: Bring the notice (execution order) and hang it on the wall. Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar.
All Taliban: Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar!
Talib 4: Glory and honor to Allah, His messenger, and all believers (Muslims). This is the infidel. This is the infidel. [shouting in Arabic].