If You Don't Convert We Will Shoot Your Son: ISIS' Ultimatum To Iraqi Christian Mother

An Iraqi Christian soldier stands at the Grand Immaculate Church in Qaraqosh during the first mass since it was recaptured from Islamic State.Reuters

A young Iraqi Christian in the village of Qaraqosh, near Mosul, has told of being forced at gunpoint to convert to Islam under Islamic State.

Also interviewed is a woman who speaks of her despair at the destruction of churches in the town. 

Qaraqosh was taken over in 2014, when Ismail was only 14 years old. Now 16, he told the BBC how he and his mother were forced to become Muslims.

"They told me to say 'there's no God but Allah' and you'll become a Muslim. I said, 'There's no God but Jesus' so he slapped me. I was still young," Ismail said.

"He slapped me and pointed the gun at my head. He told my mum, 'If you don't convert to Islam we will kill your son.'"

He also told of witnessing the murder of six people by children.

"A car stopped and six blindfolded people dressed in red got out. They had them on their knees and then IS children arrived. Each child stood behind one of the men in red. Someone who seemed to be their leader started reading from some papers. When he finished reading, the children shot the men dead."

ISIS is known to use child soldiers, indoctrinating them in Islamist ideology from a very young age. In a video released by Alsumaria News an Iraqi child, Mohamed, speaks of how militants forced him to join the 'Cubs of the Caliphate' and of how it is sending children to the front lines after subjecting them to cruel training, and giving them authority to kill even their parents.

He says parents and families who refused to send their child to training camps suffered harsh punishment.

While some Christians have been able to return to villages around Mosul from which they have been driven out, electricity and water facilities have been destroyed by ISIS and it is expected to be many months before some of them can be made habitable again.