ICC Note: The brutal attacks by the jihadist militants of ISIS and the atrocities that they continue to commit against Christians and religious minorities are heart-breaking. Women – both Christian and minorities – are being sold and abused, treated as slaves and spoils of war. These acts caused one who fled his home to lament “They are selling them! What century are we in?”
11/04/2014 Middle East (AFA Journal) The world’s attention is now fixed on an army of radical Muslim jihadists going by the name Islamic State – or the acronym ISIS – that threatens the stability of the Middle East. They have also threatened to destroy the West, including the United States, and subject it to Islamic law. That threat is more bluster than a real possibility, but for Christians in the Middle East, the barbarism of ISIS is terrifyingly real. This summer, horrific news filtered out of the Middle East that ISIS was not only obliterating a collapsed Iraqi military, but also brutalizing the civilian populations in ISIS-controlled territories.
According to a recent story released by Assist News, ISIS leaders were massacring men and capturing Assyrian Christian women and girls, along with women from other religious minorities. The women and girls were systematically being raped in order to shame them, and then they were being forced to convert to Islam. They were sold to ISIS soldiers and forced to marry them.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS forces consider these women to be “slaves of the spoils of war with the infidels.”
One Iraqi Christian refugee told the BBC his harrowing tale of when ISIS took the Christian city of Qaraqosh: “We fled last night, actually at 3 a.m. in the morning,” the man said, adding, “They took the women. They raped them. They are selling them. … [T]hey are selling them! What century are we in?”
Flight of Christians
The Middle East, however, is notable for the extent and virulence of the persecution.
Chaldean bishop Shlemon Warduni told the Assyrian International News Agency that ISIS “is ruthless and merciless,” and that the Islamist forces “are trying to rip our roots from the ground.”
For Christians in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere in the region, those roots are 2,000 years old.
Todd Daniels, an official for International Christian Concern, called the persecution of Christians in the Middle East an “existential threat.”
“We are witnessing the emptying of Christians from their homelands,” Daniels told the Catholic site Asia News.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently said: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented, and it’s increasing year by year.” The commission said Christians might disappear altogether from the Middle East within the next several decades.