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Iraq/Aleteia (aleteia.org/ar)– Father Charbel Issa, head of the St. Behnam the Martyr Monastery confirmed that members of ISIS ripped down the monastery’s crosses and burned its paintings and manuscripts.
Issa added in a statement to the website Ankawa.com that he had contacted the former mayor of al-Basatliyah, where the monastery is located, in order to ascertain conditions at the monastery. The mayor confirmed that members of ISIS had taken the crosses off the monastery’s roof and burned important manuscripts. Furthermore, ISIS wrote the words “Property of ISIS” on a large portion of its exterior wall.
The mayor also mentioned that ISIS elements recruited some of the young men in the village to serve in ISIS and that they have sworn allegiance to Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi. Meanwhile, ISIS threatened to kill anyone who refused to swear allegiance.
This article from Aleteia’s Arabic edition was translated by Donald Puhlman.