The unspeakable barbarism of ISIS reared its ugly head again when the group kidnapped 220 Catholics in northeastern Syria on March 1. The terrorists have threatened to murder all of them if they do not convert to Islam. The hostages are members of the International Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Sister Monique states, “Late Sunday afternoon on 1 March 2015, I received a message from M. Francoise, a delegate of the International Society of St. Vincent de Paul [in Rome], and I managed to reach her by telephone.
“She was leaving for Paris, and collapsed at the news she had just received: members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Syria were kidnapped, along with their wives and children.
“The children were isolated and put into cages. Adults who do not deny their faith will be decapitated, and their children burned alive in the cages.
“M. Francoise had been in regular contact with several of them before all this occurred. She asked me to transmit the news and make a fervent appeal for prayers for these people, and all who are held hostage.
“Let us remain fervently united in prayer, and have as our intention the welfare of all brothers and sisters in our Christian faith who are being held hostage.”
The terrorists released 19 of the hostages a few days later, and the Associated Press reports that all those who were released were 50 years of age and older.
It was not immediately clear why the Islamic State group freed these captives.
Saedi said all those released were around 50 years of age or older, which suggests age might have been a factor. The Assyrian Human Rights Network, meanwhile, said the captives had been ordered released by a Shariah court after paying an unspecified amount of money levied as a tax on non-Muslims.
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