The family of a Christian doctor who's using his talents to save the lives of wounded Islamic State fighters and others injured in the conflict have opened up their home to about 50 Iraqis displaced from their homes when the brutal terror group took control in parts of Iraq.
In an interview with the broadcast news outlet Rome Reports, the Iraqi Christian family explained that even though hundreds of thousands of other Christians in Northern Iraq have fled from their homes, they chose to stay and serve.
Bashar Alsaqat, who is a doctor, said they wanted to stay and help their fellow Iraqis who were left with no place to go.
"ISIS arrived in 2014. Everyone fled from the Plain of Nineveh, but we decided to stay," he said. "I am a doctor and my wife is a teacher, and we stayed to serve our people."
Nabeela Jahola explained in the interview that the family even decided to allow their displaced brothers and sisters to seek refuge in their own home. She then described the sacrifices her family has made to help those less fortunate.
"It's been a little difficult. Instead of cooking for four, I have to cook for 50," Jahola, Alsaqat's wife, was quoted as saying. "We have given up our bed and have gotten mattresses for the others. We must get up early to buy food for all these people. They came at night and we felt the need to help them, to feed them and to provide a bed where they can sleep."
Internally displaced people are not the only ones this family has helped. Alsaqat explained that he has experience healing many different types of battle wounds, but one of the hardest challenges he has faced is trying to persuade doctors he has worked with to treat wounded IS (also known as ISIL, ISIS, or Deash) fighters they encounter.
"The most difficult thing is to convince my colleagues to operate on patients from ISIS," Alsaqat said. "They look at them like the enemy. But, I try to convince them that this man is a human being. That's why we have to help them, even if the operation lasts two or three hours."
According to Rome Reports, the family belongs to the Focolare Movement, which operates in over 182 countries around the world and promotes unity and universal brotherhood, and were in Europe to share their experiences and testimony.
They were also able to visit the Vatican and see Pope Francis, which they said has given them hope as they go back to conflict-ridden Iraq.
Alsaqat and his colleagues aren't the only Christians saving the lives of Islamic State fighters in Iraq. The evangelical humanitarian organizations Samaritan's Purse has been operating a field hospital just outside of Mosul since the beginning of the year and have saved dozens, if not hundreds, of lives.
According to evangelist and Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham, the hospital's staff, who come from all over the world, have also operated on wounded Islamic State jihadis.
"Our medical teams take them in, perform surgery, bind up their wounds, and give everyone the same compassionate, Christian care — helping them in Jesus' Name," Graham wrote on his Facebook page in February.