Worthy Christian News » Christian Persecution » Christian Persecution - Middle East » Iraq Christian Teenagers Face Death or Prison
By BosNewsLife News Center with Special Contributor Jim Dykstra
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife) -- There was mounting international concern Tuesday, October 31, about the persecution of Christian teenagers in Iraq amid reports that a 14-year old boy was beheaded while a 13-year-old girl is being held in prison.
Christian Assyrian Ayad Tariq from Baqouba in Iraq was beheaded by militants earlier this month while working his 12-hour shift maintaining an electric generator, said the online Christian Assist News Service (ANS), citing Assyrian Christians.
One employee who witnessed the events was quoted as saying that the insurgents questioned Ayad after seeing that his Identity Document noted he was "Christian."
The militants allegedly asked the boy if he was really a "Christian sinner."
Ayad reportedly replied, "Yes, I am Christian, but I am not a sinner." The insurgents apparently said, "dirty Christian sinner!". They proceeded by holding one of the boyâ€™s limbs, shouting "Allahu akbar! " or "'Godâ€™ is Great'", while beheading him, ANS said. There was no immediate independent confirmation of the report, but BosNewsLife established a rise in similar incidents against Christian teenagers.
Already in 2004, October 5, Christian residents near Mosul in northern Iraq, discovered body of Fadi Shamoon, 15, who was found burned after he was beheaded, Assyrian Christians said. "The 'Aaid Khidir Shamoon family was devastated as they witnessed the body of their 15-years-old son," recalled the Assyrian International News Agency via www.aina.org
News of the violence comes amid questions about the Iraqi justice system as 13-year-old Asiya Ahmed remains jailed in the city of Dahuk, near the Turkish border, on trumped up murder charges, an international observer said. In a statement obtained by news website www.christianmonitor.org and BosNewsLife, the founder of The Fatherâ€™s Field Ministries International, Mark Case, said he has learned that Asiya was arrested as part of attempts to halt her fatherâ€™s attempts to distribute Bibles and Christian literature.
The problems began in mid August when her father, "Brother Ahmed was arrested for freely distributing Bibles and other Christian books in northern Iraq and was put in jail for seventeen days," Case said.
"While in prison Ahmedâ€™s father, who is also the leading Imam [a Muslim leader] of this area, sent his sonâ€™s brother to kill Ahmed's wife and four children who were hiding by her parents. The brother of Ahmed stormed the hiding houseâ€¦and began a reckless attempt to stab them one by one with a knife," Case claimed.
The mother reportedly claimed that "Jesus plainly appeared between her and the attacker and deflected his knife. The attacker then went for her oldest son, who is about 10. His arm was broken and severely cut up." The boy was later rushed to hospital where he spent one month.
During the scuffle, daughter Asiya â€œbecame involved and somehow the attackerâ€™s knife was deflected from them into his own body, puncturing his heart and killing him immediately,â€ Case claimed.
"As a result, the thirteen year old girl was selected out of the family to be charged with the murder of the attacker, her uncle." Case said that her father was released from prison â€œand is now living in exile while his family while receiving death threats from his father, the Imam.
Case, who has been supporting persecuted Christians in Iraq, said the "situation demands immediate attention as this girl is facing pending execution." Iraqi officials and international coalition forces representatives have not yet commented on the situation at a time of daily suicide attacks across the country.
The situation has underscored concerns among human rights watchers that Christian children will be in the cross fire of sectarian violence. At least tens of thousands of Christians have already fled Iraq to neighboring countries.
There were up to 750,000 Christians when the conflict began in Iraq, but church observers say that number dwindled in recent months as bloodshed spreads in several areas of the troubled nation. (With additional reporting by BosNewsLife Correspondents Stefan J. Bos and Eric Leijenaar. Read also www.christianmonitor.org).
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