With Islamic extremists' ongoing purge of Christians from northern Iraq, horrific news reports continue to capture the intense abuse and persecution that believers face. And a story recently shared by Canon Andrew White, the vicar of Baghdad, shows just how brutal the tragic crisis is.
White, an Anglican faith leader at St. George's Church in Baghdad, posted on his Facebook page August 1 that he saw a photo "too awful to show" — an image that depicted the horrors being perpetuated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an extremist group that has taken control of Mosul, among other regions.
"You know I love to show photos but the photo I was sent today was the most awful I have ever seen. A family of 8 all shot through the face laying in a pool of blood with their Bible open on the couch," he wrote. "They would not convert it cost them [their] life. I thought of asking if anybody wanted to see the picture but it is just too awful to show to anybody."
In this Tuesday, July 22, 2014 photo, a sign is posted at a checkpoint belonging to the Islamic State group, captured from the Iraqi Army, at the main entrance of Rawah, 175 miles (281 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. Arabic reads,"Islamic State, the Emirate of Anbar, City of Rawah." (AP Photo)
He continued, "This is Iraq today. The only hope and consolation is that all these dear people are now all with Yesua in Glory."
The graphic story surrounding this photo is only one of the latest to come from a region that is being overtaken by extremists bent on creating an Islamic state known as a "caliphate."
White, who is also founder of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, an organization that promotes interfaith relations, told his followers that they can help by praying "for the protection of ... all the Christians" in Iraq. He also encouraged donations to his organization, which is working to help afflicted Iraqis.
"Pray for our Perseverance that we and our people will not give up the spiritual fight before us," White added.
Watch the priest's recent critique of the U.K. government for purportedly not doing enough to help persecuted Christians:
As TheBlaze previously reported, believers in Mosul were given an ultimatum last month: convert to Islam, pay a tax or be put to death. It is possible that the family White saw in the photo paid the price for their refusal to comply.
Last month, His Beatitude Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan, overseer of Assyrian Christians around the globe, also spoke out about the crisis, accusing many in the West of turning a blind eye to their plight.
“We are so saddened that the civilized world doesn’t really care,” Younan said. “Surely there are other dramatic problems — wars around us in the Middle East… Gaza or Syria but here it’s … genocide … just because they are Christians.”
An Iraqi displaced family, who fled violence in the northern city of Tal Afar, walks past tents at Khazer refugee camp near the Kurdish checkpoint of Aski kalak, 40 km West of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on July 27, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/SAFIN HAMED)
The Agence France Presse and Lebanon's The Daily Star reported Wednesday that extremists are waging fresh attacks on Christians in north Iraq.
According to the outlet, sources claim that the towns of Tal Kayf, Bartella and Qaraqosh — some of the locations places where displaced Christians from Mosul fled last month — have now come under attack by ISIS.
Christian leaders in Iraq have reportedly selected August 9 as a day of prayer for those suffering at the hands of the radical terror group.
(H/T: Christian Today)