(JNS.org) An Assyrian Christian man from the Iraqi Christian village of Bartalah, which was conquered by Islamic State jihadists in early August, was reportedly tortured and then killed for refusing to convert to Islam after hiding in his home for several weeks.
According to a relative, Salem Matty Georgis, 43, was suffering from heart disease and could not leave the town with his family when Islamic State terrorists invaded. Georgis hid inside his home for more than three weeks since Islamic State’s occupation of the area began on Aug. 7.
The relative said that Georgis was forced to leave the house on Monday, when he ran out of food and eventually encountered an Islamic State patrol near the town’s church.
“The patrol arrested him and tried to force him to convert to Islam, but he completely refused,” the relative said, the Assyrian Christian news site Ankawa reported. “Then the militants beat him and tortured him until he died in their hands. The militants dumped his body in the same place and went away.”
Since taking over Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh plains region, Islamic State jihadists have forced tens of thousands of Christians and other minorities to flee.
Similar stories of Christians refusing to convert have emerged. Last week, it was reported that a group of 11 elderly Christians, including an 80-year-old woman with cancer named Ghazala, were released and ordered to leave their village by Islamic State fighters after telling the terrorists that they would rather die than convert to Islam.
Pope Francis told Iraqi Christian pilgrims visiting the Vatican on Wednesday that he is proud of them for standing up for their beliefs.
“The church suffers with you and is proud of you, proud to have children like you,” Francis said.