“Forgive them”: that’s the last thing a 12-year-old Christian girl told her mother before dying in a hospital of burns from an attack by ISIS militants.
A band of ISIS soldiers showed up at their family’s home and gave them an ultimatum: either leave their home or immediately pay the jaziya, a special tax for non-Muslims. Only the child and her mother were home at the time. The mother told the soldiers that she would pay the tax but needed “a few seconds” since her daughter was in the shower.
Saying “you don’t have ‘a few seconds,'” the soldiers barged into the home, entered the bathroom where the daughter was, and set it on fire. The whole house was quickly engulfed in flames. The woman and child barely escaped the house alive, but not without serious injuries: the girl had 4th degree burns.
Desperate to save her daughter, the woman rushed her to a local hospital. But it was too late, the burns were too severe: the girl died in her mother’s arms a few hours later. And just before the Christian girl died, she asked her mother to forgive her killers.
The 12-year-old Christian was bravely following the example of Jesus, who prayed on the cross for his killers, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23.34)
The incredible story was related by Jacqueline Isaac, a human rights advocate, who was told the story by the mother.
“Sadly this is just one more example,” a spokesman for the Christian charity Open Doors told Express, “of the atrocities being committed by extremists in this region, but I regularly hear of incredible stories of faith like this where Christians forgive their persecutors.”
Fr. Martin Hermis Dawood, a priest in Baghdad, told The Independent that while he used to encourage Christians to stay put, he now advises Christians to flee the country. “We know very well that not every Muslim here is a terrorist, but there is a culture rising, not only here in Iraq, but in the Middle East. There’s a struggle happening in the whole world and we will be burned in this fire in the future.”