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ICC Note: “You must convert,” IS forces told them…the response from these Christians is incredible and speaks to the faith that Christians hold and why it is they would choose to suffer rather than abandon it. An incredible testimony from an 80-year-old lady lived under IS control before finally being allowed to leave everything behind and abandon their homes.

10/03/2014 Iraq (Catholic Herald) – When Christian villagers from the Iraqi town of Caramles fled advancing IS forces, 80-year-old Victoria was among a dozen or so unable to leave. The widow, a Chaldean Catholic, knew nothing about the sudden evacuation that had suddenly emptied this ancient village she had known for so long. Next morning she went to church – St Addai’s – as she did every day. She found the place locked; the streets deserted. She knew IS had come.

Inevitably they ran into IS forces. Explaining their situation, they asked for help and to their surprise IS gave them water even after they refused a request to abandon their faith.

A few days later, IS found them in their homes and rounded them up at St Barbara’s shrine just on the edge of Caramles. There were about a dozen of them there, the last remaining Christian inhabitants of the village.

“You must convert,” IS forces told them. “Our faith can promise you paradise,” they added.

Victoria and Gazella responded: “We believe that if we show love and kindness, forgiveness and mercy we can bring about the kingdom of God on earth as well as in heaven. Paradise is about love. If you want to kill us for our faith then we are prepared to die here and now.”

IS forces had no answer. The dozen Christians, who included many elderly and infirm, were let go. One of them had a battered car. Other transport was also arranged and they made it to safety.…

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