IRAQ: Forced to deny Christ
Tales of torture and forced conversion to Islam have been revealed by Christians who escaped from Daesh (ISIS).
55-year-old widow Jandark Nassi and her 16-year-old son Ismail told Aid to the Church in Need about their terrifying experiences at the hands of the extremists after Daesh seized Baretella on the Nineveh Plains.
“My son was forced by Daesh to practise Islam and I was tortured for not knowing anything about Islam and the Qur’an.”
Jandark said: “My son was forced by Daesh to practise Islam and I was tortured for not knowing anything about Islam and the Qur’an.”
“I am embarrassed for having had to profess Islam,” Ismail admitted. But initially he stood firm, refusing to renounce his faith – even being thrown in jail for not converting. But his horrific ordeal behind bars made him fear for his life and that of his mother.
Describing his time in prison he said: “One day a Shi‘a [Muslim] was shot right in front of me. The terrorists told me: ‘If you do not convert to Islam, we will shoot you as well’. That is when I ‘converted’ to Islam. From that time on, we concealed that we were Christians.”
Now to all appearances living as Muslims, they were taken to Mosul, where they saw numerous horrors including seeing gun-wielding Jihadi children execute a group of prisoners.
Despite having outwardly converted to save his life, Ismail and his mother secretly clung to their faith, but “Then the Daesh warriors found my necklace with a cross, a sign that I am a Christian.
The Jihadists beat me and I had to study the Qur’an for a month. I was hit whenever I could not answer their questions the way they wanted me to.” His widowed mother was also jabbed with long needles for failing to give the correct answers when questioned about the Muslim religion.
But during the battle for Mosul their chance came. They had to take shelter in a ruined house after Daesh snipers saw them fleeing and tried to kill them. But after several hours Iraqi soldiers seized the area. Jandark and Ismail cautiously left the house waving a white flag – and were welcomed by the liberating army.
They are now being looked after in Erbil by our Iraqi Church partners who, thanks to your generosity, are continuing to provide essential aid for Christians whose lives have been touched by the malice of Daesh.