These Easter Day Photos From Iraq Went Viral. Here's Why.
"What does resurrection look like? This," Hazem Farraj, a Palestinian-American Christian televangelist writes above a Facebook post showing photos of a brave unidentified soldier mounting the cross of Christ on the consecrated grounds of a hilltop church turned to rubble by ISIS occupation.
The caption on Farraj’s photos reads:
With a rifle on his shoulder, tears in his eyes, he places the cross on the top of the now ISIS destroyed Mt Sinjar Church. What does resurrection look like? This. Happy Easter everybody. #Resurrection #Jesus
Mount Sinjar, in the storied Nineveh province of Iraq, was once home to an eclectic blend of religious minorities, including Yazidis and Christians. But that all changed in August of 2014 when the jihadist scourge of ISIS invaded the Sinjar district, slaughtering men and boys and enslaving women and girls. The Sinjar massacre resulted in the killing of 5,000 Yazidi men. As ISIS militants laid siege to Mount Sinjar, scores of children died from thirst and hunger. Without the protection of Yazidi male fighters, women and girls were abducted and sold into sexual slavery.
Razed churches, schools filled with rubble, looted houses of worship, and abandoned homes serve to tell the story of Islamo-fascism, in other words, intolerance of non-Muslims who fail to subscribe to the tenets of fundamentalist Islam.
It wasn’t until late December 2014 when valiant Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, backed by U.S. air support, liberated Mount Sinjar, rescuing tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians. By then, Sinjar had become a virtual wasteland.
But on Easter Sunday, the unidentified soldier in Farraj’s photos turned the page on the horrors of the past, planting the cross on the soil where the Mount Sinjar church once stood. There, he declared not just a new beginning, but a resurrection of life before the Islamic State.
Given their clear power and resonance, the photos, signifying the redemptive power of Easter, went viral after they were re-posted by conservative actor James Woods and other media personalities on social media.
Reflecting on the widespread popularity of the photos, Farraj called for a “human revolution” to pave the way for the free exercise of religion in the repressive Islamic societies of the Middle East.