(WARNING: Some references and images in the following report are extremely graphic. Use extreme caution.)
An Anglican priest known as the "vicar of Baghdad" for his work in war-torn Iraq has recounted atrocities inflicted on Christian children by ISIS, the Muslim jihadist army that has declared the creation of an Islamic caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.
"They chopped all their heads off," Andrew White told the Christian Broadcasting Network in an interview.
See the interview here:
In an interview in Jerusalem, where he was ordered to travel because of threats by ISIS fighters, he told of Iraqi Christian children ordered to convert to Islam or die.
"ISIS [fighters] turned up and they said to the children, 'You say the words that you will follow Muhammad,'" White said. "The children, all under 15, four of them, they said, 'No, we love Yasua. We have always loved Yasua. We have always followed Yasua."
White, mimicking ISIS, shouted, "'Say the words!'"
But the children replied, "We can't."
"They chopped all their heads off," White said.
"That is what we [Christians in Iraq] have been going through. That is what we are going through," he said.
Charisma News said in a report that "some some of the bravest martyrs this generation may ever know are teenagers – and perhaps even younger."
While White, in the report, doesn't provide a time or location, or whether he personally witnessed the atrocity, he said the same tactic had been used against adults.
"[Islamic jihadists] say to one man, an adult, 'You say the words of conversion or we will kill all of your children.' He was desperate. He said the words. Then he phoned me and said, '[Father], I said the words, does that mean Yasua doesn't love me anymore? I have always loved Yasua. I said those words because I couldn't see my children be killed.' I said, 'Jesus still loves you. He will always love you,'" White recalled.
He said that while Iraq had 1.5 million Christians, only a handful remain.
The largest Iraqi Christian community in the world now is in Chicago, he noted.
While reports on beheadings of adults, wholesale slaughter and torture with punishments such as crucifixion are common when ISIS is involved, WND has reported atrocities against children.
One such report came from the Anglican Communion News Service, which said the 5-year-old son of a founder of Baghdad's Anglican church was "cut in half during an attack by the Islamic State."
That report also cited an emotional White.
"I'm almost in tears because I've just had somebody in my room whose little child was cut in half," he said. “I baptized his child in my church in Baghdad. This little boy, they named him after me – he was called Andrew," he said at the time.
The report said it happened in the Christian village of Qaraqosh after Kurdish forces left and ISIS fighters arrived.
A Catholic.org report quoted a source, Mark Arabo, a Chaldean-American businessman, confirming the beheading of children by ISIS fighters, who then "put their heads on a stick and have them in the park."
"The world hasn't seen this kind of atrocity in generations," he told CNN.
The report, which included images, said the terrorists "who have invaded Mosul and other ancient Christian communities in Syria and Iraq have made music videos of themselves murdering civilians and captured soldiers."
"They are literally enjoying the act of killing and the fear and suffering experienced by others. This sadism may be the purest manifestation of evil witnessed since the Rape of Nanking during WWII."
Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, which had staff members traveling in Iraq, evaluated many of the reports and found them "completely consistent with who these guys are."
"They're absolute barbarians. We're at a loss of words to describe who these guys are."
He cautioned, nevertheless, that news agencies and readers always should be a little skeptical of random images posted online, because there's likely an element of propaganda in such disputes.
Some of the recent images appeared to have been been staged, he said. But others appeared genuine.
The Anglican report quoted Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
"The horrific events in Iraq rightly call our attention and sorrow yet again. Christians and other religious minorities are being killed and face terrible suffering," he said.
"What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people's right to freedom of religion and belief, as set out under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is extremely important that aid efforts are supported and that those who have been displaced are able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom's doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history."
The Catholic.org report, which included images, said ISIS terrorists "have begun their promised killing of Christians in Mosul, and they have started with the children."
"Several images have emerged of Christian children beheaded by ISIS, merely for being Christian," the report said.
The report said the Muslim fighters crucified victims "because to them crucifixion is especially humiliating due to its Christian implications."
The images show children lying in rocky fields where they died, a woman whose throat was cut and the decapitated bodies of children.
A Gospel Coalition "Factchecker" is warning that one of the images reportedly goes back to 2013 when it was claimed she was a Muslim Syrian girl named Fatima Meghlaj who was decapitated when Syrian forces shelled her home.
"ISIS is an organization that has committed heinous acts of violence and violated the human rights of many of our fellow believers," the organization said. "But we must not partake in the spreading of lies, even if it is against our enemies."
The report continued: "While it is possible that children are being beheaded by ISIS in Iraq, there is currently no credible evidence to support that claim. We should pray this report turn[s] out to be just rumor and that whatever other crimes are being committed, that God is sparing the children of Iraq from 'systematic beheading.'"
Bishop Julian Dobbs of Barnabas Aid told WND he's heard accounts of "atrocities against all Christians, adult and children."
"This is a disaster of almost unparalleled proportions for Christians," he said.
The Catholic.org report said the images and videos are made and distributed "to intimidate others." One showed blood gushing from a woman whose throat was slit. Another was of a "distraught father in Syria" holding the body of his decapitated daughter, who was executed because she was of a Christian family.
WARNING: Following are extremely graphic images, purportedly of atrocities against children by jihadist fighters. Please exercise extreme caution.
WND columnist Les Kinsolving has noted the beheadings of captured Western adults and has suggested a solution.
"What would surely seem more effective … would be an Obama announcement that he had ordered Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces to engage in campaigns of mass capture of ISIS and other Muslim murderers of our troops. Then, with massive capture, an order could be given to execute five to 10 of these Muslim killers for every one of American forces and allies who are beheaded," he wrote.
WND columnist Jerry Newcombe joined the conversation, writing: "I saw a photograph that makes me sick. It is the corpse of a little girl, about 10 years old, wearing a dress and tights. She lies sprawled on the floor with her arms outstretched. For a presumably poor girl, she looks like she's dressed in her Sunday best.
"This photo makes you sick. It's right out of a horror movie. Something within you dies when you look at it," he continued. "How could you kill a child? And more importantly, how could you do so in the name of God? As of this writing, Christians continue to be killed in Iraq simply because they won't convert to Islam. It is convert, flee, or die."