KOBANI – Open Doors’ most recent World Watch List noted that, although persecution of Christians in the country at large appeared to have diminished, there was “a spike in violence” against Christians perpetrated by ISIS-backed rebels.
Expression of Christian faith are strictly prohibited in areas controlled by radical Islamic forces. Countless church buildings have been destroyed whilst individual believers have been tortured and killed in unimaginable and unspeakable ways.
One Christian mother told ACN UK that her son had been summarily executed by Islamic soldiers when he refused to change his Christian name, George, to a Muslim name. She shared accounts of church closures, Bible burnings, and Christians being thrown off balconies and rooftops. There are many instances of Christians being killed on-the-spot – just for being a Christian. She related a particularly gruesome account of Christian men and children being executed inside a bakery using the bakery equipment as tools of death.
Christian Daily recorded how a young Muslim man was jailed in 2016 simply because he could not repeat the basics of Islam. In prison, he was tortured and forced to read the Quran. “After I witnessed their brutality with my own eyes, I started to be skeptical about my belief.”
He added that “If ISIS represents Islam, I don’t want to be a Muslim anymore. Their god is not my God.”
Following his release, he heard about and decided to visit a Brethren church, where it did not take him long to come to the conclusion that he had found the answer. “Christianity was the religion I was searching for.”
Another Muslim man who had been subjected to ISIS rule reported that he had repeatedly witnessed people being tortured and killed in the streets. Under ISIS rule, Muslims who converted to Christianity would be killed immediately. While Christians were a primary target of their brutality, he warned that they “would terrorize anyone who didn’t adhere to their particular brand of Islam.”
It was this 47-year-old farmer who expressed the conviction of those Muslims who have come to Christ during the Syrian Civil War. “If heaven is made for ISIS and their belief, I would choose hell for myself instead of being again with them in the same place, even if it’s paradise.”
We encourage you
- to meditate on what it would mean for someone to trust in Christ knowing that they would almost certainly be executed immediately.
- to give thanks that the horrors of war have motivated hundreds of Syrians to discover everlasting life, forgiveness, and the unconditional love of Jesus.
- to pray for those men, women, and children who suffer such persecution – that their tribulation would lead them to Christ.
A church administrator in Syria explained that,
“Most of the brothers here converted or come to church as a result of what ISIS did to them and to their families. No one is forced to convert. Our weapon is prayer [and] . . . the spreading of the spirit of love.”
To read more news on Syria on Missions Box, go here.
- Christian Daily, Syrian Muslims find Jesus after ISIS brutality: ‘Christianity was the religion I was searching for’
- ACN United Kingdom, Persecuted and Forgotten? A report on Christians oppressed for their Faith
- Open Doors, World Watch List: Syria