Reports have emerged about the brutal killing of 12 Christians, including a 12-year-old boy, by the Islamic State in Syria.
The boy was the son of a Syrian ministry team leader who had started nine churches in Syria. The executions took place in village outside of Aleppo.
A spokesperson for Christian Aid said, “In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam. When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion."
Eight other aid workers were separately executed for refusing to denounce their faith. In front of a crowd that was summoned to watch, two of the workers, women aged 29 and 33, were raped before all eight were beheaded.
Syria’s Christian’s population has decreased by two-thirds since 2011, when the conflict began. In Iraq, the Christian population, which numbered at close to 1.5 million in 2003 has shrunk to below 200,000 today.
"It is like going back 1,000 years seeing the barbarity that Christians are having to live under. I think we are dealing with a group which makes Nazism pale in comparison and I think they have lost all respect for human life," said Patrick Sookhdeo, founder of Barnabas Fund, a charity which helps Syrian Christians. "Crucifying these people is sending a message and they are using forms of killing which they believe have been sanctioned by Sharia law."
"For them what they are doing is perfectly normal and they don't see a problem with it. It is that religious justification which is so appalling," he added.
Get a preview of Clarion Project’s upcoming film, Faithkeepers, about the violent persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. The film features exclusive footage and testimonials of Christians, Baha’i, Yazidis, Jews, and other minority refugees, and a historical context of the persecution in the region.