Four Christian children were beheaded in Iraq, by the Islamic State (ISIS), according to Canon Andrew White, also known as the Vicar of Baghdad, for refusing to convert to Islam. White was speaking in November to the Orthodox Christian Network in Jerusalem when he made the claim.
The Times of Israel reported on White’s speech. “ISIS turned up and they said to the children, ‘You say the words that you will follow Muhammad,’” he said. “And the children, all under 15, four of them, they said “No, we love Yeshua [Jesus]. We have always loved Yeshua. We have always followed Yeshua. Yeshua has always been with us.
“They said, ‘Say the words!’ They said, ‘No, we can’t.’ They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry.”
“They are my children,” he said. “That is what we have been going through and that is what we are going through.”
According to the news source, White, vicar of Iraq’s only Anglican church, St. George’s, was forced to flee ISIS on orders from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and he took refuge in Israel. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Anglican Church’s highest official.
White also spoke of 250,000 Iraqi Christians being displaced and the community, once 1.5 million strong, fleeing in fear. According to The Independent, most of White’s staff remains in Baghdad to support the dwindling community.
The Vicar of Baghdad earned his title for reopening St. George’s in 2003, alongside Welby, after it was closed down by Saddam Hussein. The church, originally founded in 1863, is home to Iraq’s largest Christian congregation, numbering 6,500, including 600 Muslims.