A British vicar based in Baghdad said Islamic State militants hounded Christians out of their homes and threatened to kill their children if they did not convert to Islam
Cannon White, who has been ordered by the Archbishop of Canterbury to leave Iraq for his own safety, is one of only a handful of Christian leaders in the country.
He said: “Things were bad in Baghdad, there were bombs and shootings and our people were being killed, so many of our people fled back to Nineveh, their traditional home.
“It was safer, but then one day, ISIS – Islamic State. They came in and they hounded all of them out. They killed huge numbers, they chopped their children in half, they chopped their heads off, and they moved north and it was so terrible what happened.”
Islamic State forced Christians to convert to Islam on pain of death, he said. “They came to one of our people the other day, one of the Christians.
“They said to one man, an adult, ‘Either you say the words of conversion to Islam or we kill all your children’.
“He was desperate, he said the words. And then he phoned, me and said, ‘Abouna [Father], I said the words, does that mean that Yesua [Jesus] doesn’t love me any more?’ I said, ‘Yesua still loves you, he will always loves you.’”
He also told of the fate of a group of Christian young people.
Speaking to the Orthodox Christian Network, he said: “Islamic State turned up and said to the children, you say the words that you will follow Mohammed.
“The children, all under 15, four of them, said no, we love Yesua, we have always loved Yesua, we have always followed Yesua, Yesua has always been with us.
“They said, ‘Say the words.’ They said, ‘No, we can’t.’ They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry.”