As we Christians live out the last days of our wait for the coming of the Christ child, our brethren in the Middle East are under siege. Â We have all seen the headlines that Christians are being beheaded, raped, crucified and more for not renouncing their faith. Â What is now being reported is that ISIS-ISIL-IS, the Islamic organization that no one can contain with current commitment levels, is pillaging Christian holy grounds – churches – and selling off relics, artwork and other artifacts to western collectors in order to fund their surgency. Â From Christian Headlines:
ISIS is reportedly making money by raiding and looting churches in Iraq and Syria, then selling valuable stolen artifacts.Christian Today reports some of the stolen artifacts are worth millions of dollars.The militants previously established illegal channels to smuggle oil and weapons across borders. Authorities believe these same channels are being used to connect with western collectors of religious artifacts.Willy Bruggeman, Belgian federal police council president told the Times that ISIS is likely “using their own networks to come into contact with the final buyers…they want to have a one-to-one relationship with the collectors.â€
Not sure what is more reprehensible, the raping of churches or that there are actually buyers in the west for stolen goods. Â Relics, artwork, murals and the like are held in trust by the Church for the inspiration of future generations. Â With their removal from the cradle of Christianity, the jihadists are attempting to root out Christianity in any quarter they can find.
Other reports from the Middle East are now saying that conquered churches are being used for torture of the Christians who used to worship in them.