A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


January 2, 2016

Part 1 - Defying ISIS: The War On Christianity

    I recently read an important little book by Johnnie Moore, titled Defying ISIS.  Moore is a humanitarian who has written about his work with genocide victims in the Middle East, Bosnia and Rwanda and visited the world’s largest refugee camps.  Currently, he is sounding the alarm about Christian martyrs in Iraq and Syria who are faced with the barbarism of ISIS and the one option they have: convert or die.
     This little book impacted me like none other I've read in a long time.  In his own words, Moore says he "relates the stories of men, women, and children who have given everything for their faith, even their lives, and stories of those who, when facing inevitable death, lifted their eyes to their God in hope that good will eventually triumph over this evil."  He tells their stories "so that the world will have the opportunity to remember those who stared down the hell of ISIS with the love of Jesus."  Moore tells the stories of the deliberate eradication of Christians in the land where Christianity once dominated.
     There is the story of Mazen, a middle-aged man who lived in what was known as "Iraq's Christian capital", the city of Qaraqosh.  Moore relates that his once strong posture is now reduced to a humbled crouch as he recounts the horror of the morning ISIS arrived:  [It was] nine in the morning when a mortar landed on our house.  My son died.  My nephew was hit in the head.  My other son remains wounded, and our neighbor next door died... We fled, all of us ... My other son, Milad, died on the way.  I have another son who needs an operation; it costs $15,000.  Where would I get that?  We don't have a house or property or anything [anymore].
     Then there is the tragic story of Aida, a young mother of a beautiful three-year-old daughter, Christina.  They also lived in Quaraqosh, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.  It was four in the morning when ISIS arrived in their town, shooting their guns in the air, and shouting, "God is great!"  Then they began shouting something else ... "CHRISTIANS! Leave before we behead you!"  Aida tells us what happened next:  The situation deteriorated  day-by-day, and after ten days they told us to convert to Islam, or leave.  We were under house arrest.  They took our gold and money and even our extra clothing.  
     ISIS piled them on a bus and dropped them outside of town, to flee or die.  But before they did, they yanked Christina out of her mother's arms, and threatened to kill the hysterical mother on the spot.  Aida said, We don't know why they took our daughter; she was the only child left in Quaraqosh.  We don't know what happened to her.  I'm always thinking about her.  I can't eat or sleep... I keep seeing her in my dreams.  Can you imagine?  Why isn't the world screaming about this inhuman barbarity?  Why aren't we Christians in the West more aware this is happening and interceding on behalf of our Christian brothers and sisters?
     There are the stories of the kidnapping, selling, and trading of children.  As if that is not enough, there are the excruciating stories of the execution of children!  Moore says that "the most conservative estimates put the number of executed children in Syria alone at more than 10,000... [ISIS] revels in the chance to inflict a particular type of horror into the hearts of those they hate.  They sincerely believe they are doing a justice by ridding the world of another generation of Christians, and so they massacre them with pure joy."  What if this was a European child?  An American child?  Why is the world silent?
     It is also the goal of those who promote the Islamic Caliphate to enslave Christian wives and abuse Christian daughters.  I think you know what that means.  We, in the West, are aware of human and sex trafficking (although we are loathe to admit it or confront it openly).  But a smuggled price list from a slave market was recently published by Iraqi News.  The document states that Christian and Yazidi girls are particularly targeted and priced according to age:  ages 1-9 cost $172; ages 10-20 cost $130; ages 20-30 cost $86; ages 30-40 cost $75; and ages 40-50 are sold for $43.  Below the prices on the document, bearing the official seal of the Islamic State of Iraq, it reads, "Customers are allowed to purchase only three items [slaves] with the exception of customers from Turkey, Syria, and Gulf countries.  Obey and follow the rules and laws of the Islamic State or be killed."
     The website, Breaking Israel News, reports that theologians of the Islamic State (ISIS) have issued what can only be described as exceptionally detailed rulings on when “owners” can have sex with female slaves captured by the jihadist group.  The report also added that rather than hiding their practice of slavery, ISIS takes great pride and has even established a department of “war spoils” to manage their slavery trade.
     It is hard enough to read of this horrific abuse against women when it is written in general terms and statistics.  It is another to hear the personal story of Mayat, a 17-year-old Yazidi girl who had been kidnapped and told of "rooms of horror" where "women are raped, often by different men and throughout the day... Often I wish they would beat me so hard I will die.  But they are cowards even in this.  None of them have the courage to end our suffering... even if I survive, I don't think I'll be able to remove this horror from my mind.  They have already killed my body.  They are now killing my soul."
     Then there is the story of Zena, a 20-year-old chemical engineering student in Mosul.  When ISIS came to town she had three strikes against her:  First, she was a Christian; Second, she was a woman; and Third, she was a woman with ambition.  When Johnnie Moore met her, she was wearing the same pajamas she was wearing the night ISIS arrived.  Zena told him that her sense of hope was destroyed when ISIS decimated their church and Christian community; it was an assault "on their security in a deep and personal way."
    But Zena was one of the lucky ones.  In the Syrian city of Al-Mayadin, a female dentist was captured and beheaded because she dared to treat both men and women.  Many others have been stoned to death and buried in shallow graves, or kidnapped and forcibly married to ISIS fighters.  Needless to say, all women are being forced to comply with a strict dress code, and are threatened with death if they refuse.
     One elderly man, when questioned by Moore about why he fled his hometown, replied, "I will tell you why I left my district.  I left it because they stormed our house barbarically at 2 a.m., harassing us, pointing their flashlights toward our women.  We didn't come from another country.  We are from an eastern society.  We are Iraqis and we are jealous of our honor.  So we left to avoid them because they already threatened to arrest our women.  They told my mother that they would arrest her if they couldn't find us."  So, he left to protect his mother, his wife, and his daughters.
     There are more stories than these... thousands of stories, and many of them much more savage and cruel.  And I wanted to let the voices of Johnnie Moore (who has seen these atrocities first-hand) and the victims speak for themselves.  I wanted to shake us western Christians out of our comfort zones to face the existence of this very real war on Christianity.  It is a war that will not be confined to the Middle East, and is designed to be waged worldwide.  We must wake up and determine that we will  not only intercede in prayer on behalf of our fellow Christians, but turn our attention, time, and resources to supporting them in their hour of need.
     I want to leave you at this part of the story, if you will, with the words of Sister Rose, a young nun from Mosul, Iraq, who has poured her life into the lives of Christian refugees as they have fled from city to city, and she among them.  Sister Rose told Johnnie Moore, "I lived in America.  Americans are wonderful people.  It's shocking to me that they are so silent in the face of our genocide.  Please help us.  Raise your voice for us.  Our children are dying.  In America you care for your pets so well, can you care for your Christians brothers and sisters who are suffering?"
     Can we?  On Monday's post, I will finish my report on the work of Johnnie Moore and why he thinks these stories should matter to you; how he thinks we defeat ISIS; and his unique perspective on Christianity in the heart of a Muslim Middle East.  It's time that the world awakes from its slumber, and it is especially time for us Christians.  The very existence of our faith in its birthplace in the Middle East, and our lives, here in the West, depend on it.

1 John 5:19   "We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."


6 comments:

  1. I have heard many people asking lately, "Where are the Christians, why do they remain silent when these atrocities are happening to their brothers and sisters?" Some compare it to the silence when the Jews were taken, tortured, and killed by the Nazi's.
    What action can we take, other than prayer, Belle? I wish a great Christian leader would stand to make the first move and ask for us to follow. I just think that your typical Christian doesn't have any clue where to go or what to do. Perhaps write to our Senators and Congressmen and plead for their help? This breaks my heart.

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    1. Kim, fervent prayer is certainly a mighty weapon against this barbarity. And at the end of Part 2 on tomorrow's post, I will list how we can financially help a couple of bold organizations who are on the ground trying to assist our fellow Christians during this genocide. Do not despair! God raises up those who are willing to do the difficult and dangerous work on behalf of His people. Unfortunately, it is not the mainstream Christian Church, who is asleep to the fact that our own churches may well become the next targets.

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  2. Glenn Beck isn't exactly a 'great Christian leader' but his name is well known enough that many on the left hate him, ridicule his words, and spare no disgusting terminology when talking about him. But about a month ago, Glenn Beck organized a huge undertaking- getting 2 or 3 busloads of Iraqi Christians out of there after they had been targeted by ISIS. People in the US gave lots of money to help make this happen. They had to come up with some way of vetting these people because the US wouldn't let them come here- they'd already been refused though the Muslims had been allowed to come. I don't know enough about why that happened, but the country that did accept them was Slovakia where they are now living with the continuing support of organizations Glenn Beck gathered together for this purpose. They all say they hope to support themselves as quickly as possible, to educate their children, and to give back in some way because someone cared. Someone helped them when they were in the darkest hours.. Say what you want about Glenn Beck... He told us 4 years ago all these awful things would happen because he was researching it. No one wanted to hear his words then but they are starting to listen. So you ask if anyone is actually DOING anything. The answer is 'Yes'. And more is in planning stages. More will be asked of more people and we had better get off our butts and help each other out because this is real now. Just a letter to a congressman won't be enough. We have to follow the true, honest actions of those who are helping and be part of the group. If your church is raising money, collecting clothes and supplies for Christians on the run, help make it happen. Some will have the resources to do much more- like Glenn Beck did. Lots of people assisted him in his endeavor and now countries have even asked about how they vetted the refugees to make sure they weren't taking in ISIS operatives.. and it's working. The worst thing you can do is remain silent because it's too terrible to think about and besides, it's not 'happening here yet'... but it is. We are making our country more porous and accepting of anti-Christian ideology and even discrimination all the time. Christians seem to be the only group you can openly trash and get away with it every time. No one wants to be the 'uncool' kid in school talking about the Lord. Sadly, I've watched kids graduate high school and come out of college as atheists spouting all kinds of progressive talking points, talking about how offended they are by morality, and it gets more murky from there. So, in answer to the question, "What can I do?".. Look in the mirror, see that you are the one that has to answer this for yourself. Don't just write a check to some mega-church. Research people who are having some success and see how you can help. See if you can be part of Glenn Beck's team somewhere. And remember.. someday your own faith will be asked of you. How will you answer? Will you convert to Islam? Will you stand your ground? Will you hope there will be people still left to help you? here is a link.. http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/53857-how-glenn-beck-is-helping-persecuted-christians-escape-isis

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    1. Very well said! And I would suggest that everyone check out www.cradlefund.org and www.worldhelp.net. Both organizations are recommended by Johnnie Moore as humanitarian groups that are making a difference. Like Mr. Moore, I do not want to stand before God and tell them I did nothing when my fellow Christians were in need. Pray about it …. and then GET INVOLVED!

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  3. Thanks Samadhi and Belle for the links. I will definitely check these links out. This is exactly the kind of thing that I was wanting information about with how we could help make a difference. I have more good news - a strong Christian leader is stepping forward - Franklin Graham plans to visit all 50 states and ask Christians to make commitments. I pray that there is a huge turnout in every state. Here is the link to the story - http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/05/franklin-graham-launches-50-state-decision-america-2016-tour-iowa/

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    1. It just so happens Kim, that I will be mentioning Franklin Graham's project in my blog post tomorrow. Tune in!

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