Some Christians in Middle Eastern cities that have been attacked by ISIS haven’t fled their homelands; instead they have been taking up arms and forming Christian militias, or “biblical brigades,” such as the Babylon Brigade in Iraq. According to The Christian Times, Middle Eastern Christians in Iraq are fighting back by forming their own Christian militias and defending and taking back their cities. The Babylon Brigade in Iraq was started in July of last year, with about 1,000 Christians who banded together to form an Iraq Christian Resistance militia. Members of the brigade trained with the government sanctioned paramilitary group, the Popular Mobilization Forces, which combined Shia and Sunni militias.
Last year, the commander of the Babylon Brigade, Rayan al-Kildani, told NBC News that because ISIS had displaced them from their homes, taking their money and properties and killing their young men and women, Christians had taken up arms to fight the ISIS terrorist group.
“By the will of God we will avenge what happened to our community.”
BBC correspondent Owen Bennett-Jones recently met with Kildani, to find out more about the Christian militant group. Kildani told Owen that they had no choice but to begin fighting back when ISIS started targeting Christians. Bennett-Jones asked Kildani how many were in the brigade, but Kildani did not want to disclose that information, saying, “That’s a military secret.”
Bennett-Jones mentioned that there were about 100,000 armed volunteers in the Babylon Brigade, and a man he spoke with the day before he talked to Kildani was eager to talk about how many were in the Christian militia. The BBC correspondent was not sure if he could take Kildani seriously, describing the leader of the brigade as a man arriving with a small entourage of men mostly in suits and carrying four cell phones. Bennett-Jones said that he had heard stories about people renting houses and gathering a few people together, announcing they had formed a militia group and going to the government to apply for funds, which were about $600 a month per man.
When Bennett-Jones asked Kildani about weapons, the Iraqi leader replied that they had medium rockets, explaining that “you can’t fight a war with rifles.” Kildani went on to say that what the Islamic State was doing to Christians was terrible and “they are the devil.”
Kildani said that the group was the first Christian power in Iraqi history, and fought side by side with the Muslim militias. He then told Bennett-Jones, “I know the Bible says that if you get hit on one cheek you should offer the other. But we have really good defense forces now.”
Kildani said that no one would do anything bad to the Christians and that he had personally been to Christian homes that had been taken over and told the new people living there to get out.
“Christian suffering is over,” Kildani said.
After Bennett-Jones mentioned the commandment that says ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ Kildani said that they had to fight and they had to defend themselves. Kildani said that “Jesus himself told us that if you don’t have a sword you should go out and buy one,” to which Bennett-Jones asked if Jesus really said that.
Kildani told one of his assistants to look it up, and it was Luke chapter 22, verse 36: “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.”
Middle Eastern women are also fighting against ISIS – full documentary below.
The website, Defending Zion, also mentioned that not all of the Christian militias taking up arms are men – in Syria, the “Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers” of the Syriac Christians Brigade celebrated its second class of female fighters in January. There are other such Christian militias all over the Middle East who have been fighting back against ISIS over the past year or so. The website also mentions a verse by King Solomon in Ecclesiastes.
“…there is a time for war, and a time for peace.”
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