We’ve heard stories of the horrors that the Islamic State forces have inflicted upon the Christians throughout the Middle East, but rarely do we hear a firsthand account. Father Douglas Bazi, an Iraqi priest, recently told his story to the UK Express.
Bazi said that ISIS gave the Christians of Mosul three options – leave, pay a tax, or be killed – and 24 hours to decide which option they would take:
As a result 100,000 penniless Christians fled in just one night, leaving behind their homes and possessions to be looted by jihadi fighters.
Those who stayed behind had to pay a Jizya – an Islamist tax levied on non-believers – amounting to an astronomical £5,200 [$8,030], which is more than the yearly salary of the average Iraqi. Those who could not afford the levy were executed.
Bazi went on to tell stories of the systematic torture and violent treatment of Christians at the hands of Muslim terrorists. He told of how ISIS militants took Christian women, along with women of other religious minorities, into sex slavery and used them as barter. One jihadi forced a dentist to accept a female sex slave as payment for his services; the dentist attempted to return the young woman to her family.
According to Bazi, the number of Christians in Iraq has dwindled from two million in 2003 to under 200,000 today. Christians who have fled the country are afraid to report the atrocities out of fear that ISIS will retaliate against the family members the refugees have had to leave behind.
Bazi said that proud Iraqi Christians have left out of absolute necessity and are sad to leave their homeland behind.
“My people, they are going to leave sooner or later. I’m in love with my country, with my church, I’m proud I’m Iraqi but Iraq isn’t proud because we’re part of it and it’s a shame.
“There’s no life left behind for us now.”
Read the rest of Father Douglas Bazi’s interview at UK Express.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Latintin