Iraqi Christian fighters on why they are taking on ISIS: ‘They are the devil’

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Angie Chui Reuters
Iraqi Christians volunteers, who have joined Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilization), allied with Iraqi forces against the Islamic State
A Christian militia is fighting alongside Muslim militias to hit back against the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) which has taken the homes and livelihood of Christians in Iraq.

The Iraq Christian Brigade also called the Babylon Brigade is led by their leader Rayan al-Kildani who said they have taken up arms because they have had enough of the abuses committed by the ISIS.

“What Islamic State was doing to the Christians is terrible. They are the devil,” he said.

According to a report by BBC, militias have been formed in 2014 to block the ISIS attacks when the national guard collapsed. To date, militias, composed of Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslim and Christians which belong to the umbrella group called the Popular Mobilization Forces have maintained their position to protect their homes from assaults by the ISIS.

In recent years, the numbers of the militia have grown to close to 100,000, especially after the militias were able to secure financial support from the government to cover their expenses. However, the Babylon Brigade remains firm that fighting for the rights of Christians is the main reason they have joined the militia.

“I know the Bible says that if you get hit on one cheek you should offer the other. But we have really good defence forces now. No-one is going to do anything bad to the Christians. Some Christians had their homes taken over. I have personally been to those houses to tell the new people living there to get out. Christian suffering is over,” Kildani said.

While he maintained secrecy on their actual numbers, he expressed confidence that they are armed and ready to ward off threats to their peace. Despite the fact that some may criticize their group for violating the tenets of the Bible which tells Christians not to kill, the group also cites another Bible passage that fuels their crusade.

In the interview, Kildani cited Luke Chapter 22:36 which says “If you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”

“We have to fight. We have to defend ourselves,” he said.

In an earlier interview with NBC, Kildani said that it is their responsibility to band with their brothers to liberate Iraq.

“ISIS terrorists do not differentiate among Christians, Muslims, Sunnis and Shiites — they kill everyone. We have to help our Muslim brothers liberate Iraq,” he said.