An 80-year-old Iraqi Christian woman who remained in her village after most inhabitants fled an Islamic State onslaught recounted the moment the jihadists threatened to kill her for her faith.
The woman, identified by her first name only, Victoria, said that she only realized the Islamic State group had taken over her town of Caramles when she went to church one morning as she does every day, but found it locked.
Victoria, a Chaldean Christian widow, shared her story saying “Prayer sustained us,” for the first four days after the Islamic State takeover when she and one of the other dozen Christians who stayed behind locked themselves in their home. When supplies ran low, the two neighbors, both elderly Christian women, went out in search of food. “Inevitably they ran into IS [Islamic State] forces. Explaining their situation, they asked for help and to their surprise IS gave them water even after they refused a request to abandon their faith.” A shortt time later, the militants went searching for them in their homes and gathered them at St. Barbara’s shrine.
“You must convert,” Victoria recalled the men telling the dozen Christians left in town. “Our faith can promise you Paradise.”
Victoria and her neighbor Gazella said they would not convert. “We believe that if we show love and kindness, forgiveness and mercy we can bring about the kingdom of God on earth as well as in heaven. Paradise is about love. If you want to kill us for our faith then we are prepared to die here and now,” Victoria replied to the militants, as she later told.
Miraculously, the jihadists let the group – which included other elderly and ailing Christians – free.