By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife)-- Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq are reportedly giving detained Christian, Yazidi and Turkoman women and girls a difficult choice: Convert to their strict interpretation of Islam or face daily rape.
The female detainees in Mosul's Badush prison are among those who were unable to join as many as 200,000 Christians and others fleeing IS fighters, who have declared an Islamic "caliphate" in an area straddling Iraq and Syria.
United Nations officials in Iraq said at least some 1,500 people from religious minorities, including Christians, may have been forced into sexual slavery.
IS militants have been gang-raping some and selling others as brides for as low as $25, according to investigators. Many victims are reportedly as young as 14 years old, survivors said.
A captive woman told reporters that her daughter, who managed to hide a mobile phone in the prison, spoke of horrific experiences, including being raped by dozens of men over a few hours.
Other women said children born out of rape were ripped from their mothers’ arms, and never seen again.
BosNewsLife was not immediately able to confirm these reports independently, but IS militants have boosted about violence, posting videos of fighters executing people on a massive scale.
Additionally, at least four IS hostages in Syria were reportedly waterboarded during their captivity. Waterboarding is an interrogation technique in which water is poured over a cloth covering the subject’s face, creating the sensation of drowning.
Among those waterboarded was James Foley, the young American journalist who was beheaded by the terror group for ongoing U.S. airstrikes against the militants.
Amid the crisis, churches in Iraq's Kurdistan region are helping refugee, including in the city of Erbil. "We wanted to show those people that we don't care if they are Christians, Yazidis or Muslims," Majeed Mohammed, a pastor in the area, explained in published remarks.
"They are human beings and they have been kicked out of their homes by ISIS. We want to show them that as Christians we love them...."
The long-term fate of the vast number of refugees remains one of the major questions in this urgent humanitarian crisis, warned Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC), an advocacy group supporting persecuted Christians.
"Praise God for Pastor Majeed and other 'Good Samaritans' like him who are opening up their churches, homes and hearts to the overwhelming number of refugees in dire need," VOMC said in a statement to BosNewsLife.
VOMC added that it urged its supporters to pray "for continued provision so shelter and
basic necessities can be made available" to those in their care.
"May this fine example of love and service greatly encourage the faith of believers and serve as a bold witness to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ in a personal way," the group said.
It also prayed for a "long-term solutions for the thousands of refugees, so they may have
the hope of a brighter future"" and that "the hearts of the militants be touched as well, bringing an end to the atrocious violence in Iraq."