By Stoyan Zaimov
With churches destroyed and desecrated, crosses distorted, and Jesus statues beheaded by ISIS, it looks as if “Armageddon” happened in Qaraqosh, said a U.S. pastor who recently visited the formerly thriving Christian city in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain.
“One would have thought Armageddon had already taken place,” Pastor William Devlin of Infinity Bible Church in the Bronx, New York, and president of REDEEM, which provides funds to persecuted people across the world, told The Christian Post late last week.
Devlin, who saw firsthand the devastation earlier this month, recounted:
“Stately stone homes, thousands of them burned by the Islamic State beginning in August 2014 and continuing through October 2016; every business gutted, its metal drop down doors, each littered with Arabic graffiti — ‘We are the sons of Muhammad; Christians and Jews are the sons of apes, monkeys and pigs;’ every cross and crucifix distorted, bent or ravaged into a dystopic mess.
“Every church in this city — Syriac Orthodox, Chaldean Catholic, Assyrian Church of the East — had their wooden pews piled into a heap and set on fire. Blackened soot coated the entire ceilings and inside of these formerly beautifully maintained houses of worship; church bell towers blown up and toppled, church courtyards transformed into firing ranges, used for training of Islamic militants, sporting now headless mannequins
Additionally, stone reliefs of martyred saints on walls had been “hammered to oblivion.”
The pastor, who has been to Qaraqosh twice now, told CP that that the city, which once had the country’s largest Christian population of 50-60,000 people, has been left without water and electricity, and called it a “modern-day ghost town.”
“The destruction is total — in the sense of buildings, businesses, homes and churches — but the destruction is far wider in the hearts, souls and minds of those Christians who fled this city on August 6, 2014,” he commented.
Devlin has visited Iraq multiple times now, helping provide relief for displaced Iraqis, and partnering with a network of underground rescuers that are assisting women and girls to escape the clutches of the radical terror group.
Speaking with former Qarakosh residents who now reside in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, he recalled their words: