Reports of Christian life under the Islamic State (ISIS) continued throughout November. Many of these came from the ancient Christian towns surrounding Mosul, such as Batnaya and Qaraqosh, conquered by ISIS in August, 2014, and liberated in late October, 2016.
One Christian man, Esam, from Qaraqosh, related what ISIS did after his sister’s husband refused to convert to Islam: “He was crucified and tortured in front of his wife and children, who were forced to watch. They [ISIS] told him that if he loved Jesus that much, he would die like Jesus.” The Islamic militants tortured his brother-in-law from 6 in the evening until 11: “[T]hey cut his stomach open and shot him before leaving him hanging, crucified.” Two other members of Esam’s family, a Christian couple, were abducted and separated by ISIS. To this day, the husband does not know where his wife is; he only knows that she was turned into a concubine, a sex-slave.
Karlus, a 29-year-old Christian, told how ISIS members broke into his elderly father’s home in Batnaya and began to destroy crosses and tear up a picture of Christ. When Karlus tried to stop them, he was taken and tortured: they “hung him from the ceiling of the jail he was held in, by a rope attached to his left foot. As blood poured from his foot, they beat and kicked him, rubbing salt into his wounds. He was sexually abused in prison by three women wearing niqabs [black veils]. He was told he would be shot dead,” said the report. Seven weeks later he was released.
Another handful of Christians told how they “were threatened, forced to spit on a crucifix or convert to Islam,” but they “miraculously survived more than two years under Islamic State group rule.”
Ismail, another young Christian from Qaraqosh told how he was forced at gunpoint to convert to Islam two years ago when he was 14: “They told me to say ‘there’s no God but Allah’ and you’ll become a Muslim. I said, ‘There’s no God but Jesus’ so he slapped me. I was still young. He slapped me and pointed the gun at my head. He told my mum, ‘If you don’t convert to Islam we will kill your son.’”
Before being driven out of these now-liberated Christian towns around Mosul, ISIS planted explosive devices in teddy bears and toys that would be detonated when children picked them up, “killing unsuspecting families.”
Those who survived ISIS, accused former U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama of doing nothing when Iraq’s largest Christian city, Qaraqosh, fell to the Islamic terrorists more than two years ago, when its Christian population was over 50,000. One man said, “Obama has never helped the Christians. In fact, he despises them. In the last 26 months, he has shown he despises all of them. But we have hope in the new president, Trump.” A Catholic priest said: “The US government led by President Obama could have protected us – or at least helped us to protect ourselves. But unfortunately Obama abandoned us.” A young girl wearing a cross added: “We hope this new guy called Trump will help us more than Obama did.”