A 5-year-old boy, who's the son of a founding member of St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad, was slaughtered by Islamic State terrorists, better known as ISIS, who cut the boy in half during an attack on the Christian town of Qaraqosh.
"I'm almost in tears because I've just had somebody in my room whose little child was cut in half," Anglican Canon Andrew White of St. George's Church told the Anglican Communion News Service Friday. "I baptized his child in my church in Baghdad. This little boy, they named him after me — he was called Andrew."
Christian refugees who fled to Qaraqosh seeking shelter in the Christian town were forced to flee again by the tens of thousands Thursday as Islamic State forces began invading the peshmerga-controlled regions of the country.
The deceased boy's parents and brother, George, who's named after the Anglican church in Baghdad, have reportedly fled with other Christians to the city of Arbil where the U.S. consulate is located, which President Barack Obama said would be protected by the U.S. military through targeted airstrikes against Islamic State convoys.
Peshmerga fighters, according to Reuters, controlled wide stretches of territory outside the autonomous zone, which served as a sanctuary for fleeing Christians and other religious minorities before Islamic State terrorists arrived in the region last month.
"But the past week saw the peshmerga crumble in the face of an advance by the fighters, who have heavy weapons they seized from Iraqi army troops that abandoned their posts in June. In addition, the fighters are flush with cash looted from banks," Reuters reports.
Shamil Abu Madian, a 45-year-old Christian, told Reuters that he fled the city of Mosul when it fell in June. He then sought refuge in a town protected by the peshmerga, "but was forced to flee again in panic in the middle of the night when the Kurdish peshmerga troops suddenly vanished."
"We were not able to take anything with us except some clothes in a nylon bag," Abu Madian said. "People are living on sidewalks, in public gardens, anywhere."
White told ACNS that with the financial contributions of supporters overseas, the Anglican church in Iraq has been able to provide food, water and supplies to Christians and other targeted religious groups who've fled Mosul and Nineveh for regions further north to escape Islamic State terrorists.
"We need two things: prayer and money," White said. "With those two we can do something. Without those we can do nothing."
He continued, "I have three 'P's that I always mention which is for protection, provision and perseverance. We need protection, we need to provide for those people and we need to keep going."
The Christian Post reported Monday that protests highlighting the plight of Iraqi Christians are being held throughout the world, in part through the promotion of the #WeAreN campaign that has drawn attention to the unprecedented persecution of Iraqi Christians.
Western leaders have been urged to put an end to the genocide through demonstrations in France, Denmark, Germany, England, Sweden, Australia, Canada and many cities in the U.S., even as supporters globally have either changed their Twitter photo to an image of the Arabic letter ن or N, which stands for Nazarene or Christian in Arabic.
Islamic State Sunni terrorists are known to have painted the Arabic letter "N" on the homes of Christians in Mosul before forcing them to flee the city, which is now under their control.