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A website in Assyria is confirming that a 14-year-old Christian boy who was working a 12-hour shift maintaining an electric generator has been murdered by Muslim insurgents.
The youth was identified as Ayad Tariq, who lived in Baqouba, Iraq, and was at work on Oct. 21 when a group of “disguised Muslim insurgents” went into the power plant shortly after his shift began at 6 a.m.
The website reported the insurgents asked him for his identification and, according to other witnesses who hid and stayed alive to report on the attack, questioned his identification card’s reference to him as a “Christian.”
Are you truly a “Christian sinner,” they asked.
“Yes, I am Christian but I am not a sinner,” he replied.
The insurgents then called him a “dirty Christian sinner,” grabbed his limbs and held them while beheading him, the witnesses reported.
They were shouting, “Allahu akbar! Allahu Akbar!” during the murder, witnesses said.
An organization called AssyrianChristians.com said they are the indigenous people of Iraq, with a population that has been in the Middle East from the time of Christ.
However, they have faced a number of purges by the region’s rulers over time, including the present attacks by powerful Islamic factions across Iran, Iraq and neighboring nations, officials said.
Only two generations back, Assyrian Christians made up 20 percent of the population of the Middle East, but during the Assyrian Genocide of 1915, an estimated three million Christians were slaughtered there, the organization said.
Current estimates are that there are about 2.5 million Assyrian Christians in Iraq.
Kenneth Scott LaTourette wrote in “A History of Christianity” that the Assyrian Christians became the first nation to accept Christianity, and one of the largest missionary-sending peoples in Christian history.
“The Assyrian Christians are one of the last remaining Christian communities in the Middle East,” said Rev. Ken Joseph Jr., of the Assyrian Christians organization.
Tens of thousands of Assyrian Christians have fled their traditional homelands in recent months, officials confirmed.