Pastor compares scene of ISIS destruction in Iraq to Armageddon
The destruction that the Islamic State left in the Christian town of Qaraqosh in Iraq is comparable to an "Armageddon," according to a U.S. pastor who witnessed the devastation when he visited the place earlier this month.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Pastor William Devlin of Infinity Bible Church in New York described how the crosses in Qaraqosh have been destroyed and churches were desecrated. He also recounted seeing stores whose doors have been vandalized with Arabic graffiti.
"One would have thought Armageddon had already taken place," Pastor Devlin told the Post.
"Stately stone homes, thousands of them burned by the Islamic State beginning in August 2014 and continuing through October 2016," Devlin continued describing. "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."
In addition, Pastor Devlin said the wooden pews in all the churches in Qaraqosh were collected and set on fire. The ISIS militants also reportedly converted church courtyards into firing ranges, as evidenced by the headless mannequins bearing bullet holes.
Qaraqosh used to be home to the largest Christian population in Iraq, but now it has transformed into a ghost town. Pastor Devlin said the physical destruction of the Christian city is evident, but the devastation in the hearts and souls of the believers who fled from the town are even more far-reaching.
Meanwhile, Christian leaders are now demanding the reconstruction of destroyed monasteries, churches and other religious sites in Iraq. They are also calling for the establishment of an autonomous area in the Nineveh Plains that will be protected by the United Nations, Al Monitor reports.
Christian parliament member Yonadam Kanna told Al Monitor that local volunteers have already started clearing the debris in the churches and monasteries. European ecclesiastical organizations have also expressed willingness to help in the efforts to restore the destroyed religious sites.