Today in the Islamic Middle East, Christians like the Abada family in Iraq suffer real persecution the likes of which most of us can scarcely imagine.
It has been nearly a year now since Ayda and Khader Abada have laid eyes upon their three-year-old daughter.
On August 22 of last year, ISIS militants snatched little Christine from the arms of her mother, Ayda. To this day, her parents haven’t a clue as to her fate.
Ayda and Khader Abada are the parents of five children. On August 6, 2014, a little less than three weeks before their daughter was snatched from them, Islamic State zealots took command of their home city of Qaraqosh. But because Christine’s father, Khader, is blind, he and his family, not unlike many of their neighbors with comparable disabilities, were left with little option but to stay put.
According to Open Doors, an organization dedicated to shining the light on the persecution of Christians around the world, since the Abadas had “‘no place to escape,’” it was their hope that their conquerors would extend “‘mercy’” to “‘the blind and disabled[.]’”
Unsurprisingly, their hope was in vain, for in no time, ISIS corralled the Christians of Qaraqosh for what they said was to be a medical examination. Just as unsurprisingly, ISIS lied.
The Christians were robbed of their property and the purging of the city was under way.
The website of Open Doors reports that among “the valuable belongings” of which Christians were divested were clothes, gold, and their identification cards. Given the “chaotic” nature of the event, the Abadas were overlooked.
But they were far from safe.
The Abadas and the other Christians were commanded to board a bus the windows of which were covered with dirt so as to prevent them from seeing out. Ayda held little Christine closely to her as her Muslim captors walked up and down the aisle. When one of them, someone named “Fadel,” approached Ayda, he looked her over.
Then he wrenched little Christine from her mother’s arms.
The child cried for her mother and her mother cried and pleaded for mercy, begging the kidnapper to return her daughter to her. “Fadel” was unmoved. He walked off the bus with Christine and reentered the building to which the Abadas and their Christian neighbors were originally taken.
“Then,” a heart broken Ayda stated, “one of the Daesh (an Arabic acronym for IS) came and inspected the people on the bus. He walked up to us. He took my little girl from my arms and just walked away.”
The bus remained parked for a while as “Fadel” passed in and out of the building—without Christine. Finally, a man who appeared to be the ring leader, someone who Ayda referred to as “the prince,” emerged from the den with Christine in his arms. As the daughter continued to wail for her mother and Ayda, frantically exiting the bus in an effort to retrieve her daughter, continued to cry and beg for her little girl, not only was the “the prince” not in the least bit sympathetic, but he was contemptuous toward Ayda.
“The prince did not say a word, but only looked at me and made a despising gesture with his arms like he was saying get out of my eyes[.]”
The ISIS militants put a gun to Ayda’s head and ordered her to get back on the bus.
“From the cruel look in the eyes of the prince, I realized that I had no other option but to go back. And so I did. The man holding Christine then walked away with her. That was the last time I saw her.”
Ayda recalls what a good child Christine had been. Though she was only three years of age, Christine used to help guide her blind father by taking him by his hand.
Nearly a year later, on July 15, Ayda’s 24-year-old son married. Though this was a joyous occasion for the Abadas, Ayda admits that “my biggest joy would be when my child Christine would be returning to us.”
Several attempts by their church to secure information regarding Christine’s fate have thus far been to no avail. Through Open Doors, Ayda asks for “everyone to pray for Christine and for us, as we are living in the hope that someday Christine will come back.”
It brings this Catholic no pleasure to consider that at this time, as the Abadas and legions of Christians around the Earth endure horrors of this sort at the hands of Islamic savages who revile them because of their faith, that my Pope—the most visible spokesperson for Christianity in the world—prefers to direct his moral outrage at “capitalism” and “inequality.”