The continuing age of Moloch

Moloch was the ancient deity to whom child sacrifices were made.  And, in fact, biblical texts refer to the sacrifice of children in a number of passages – e.g., Psalms 106:37-38;  Jeremiah 7:31, Ezekiel 20:25-6; Jeremiah 19:5; Ezekiel 16:21, 20:31, 23:37, 39.  In Jeremiah 32:35, the deity is actually mentioned:

And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to set apart their sons and their daughters unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into My mind, that they should do this abomination; to cause Judah to sin.

But Moloch is still very much alive in the world, notwithstanding God's injunction.  The picture of kidnapped Christine Abada, three-year-old daughter of Christians Ayda and Khader Abada, who was snatched by ISIS soldiers on August 22, 2014, demonstrates, yet again, how little the world does to protect the most vulnerable among us when the barbarians rise up.  Little Christine lived with her family in the city of Qaraqosh, Iraq.  In the ways of base villains, like the Nazis, ISIS claimed they were going to give medical examinations to the Christians of the town. 

Of course, this was all a lie to give cover to the theft of property and the purging of this city.  And then the selections began.  The Muslim captor saw the child and "wrenched" her from her mother's arms.  The ISIS brutes were unmoved by the mother's cries for the return of her child.  Once the ISIS terrorist put a gun to Ayda's head, she realized that there was "no other option but to go back."

This was the last time she saw her daughter. 

And have we so easily forgotten the fate of the 219 Nigerian young women who were snatched from their schools and kidnapped by Boko Haram in the summer of 2014?

 Adam Nossiter writes that "[a] year to the day after they were kidnapped by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok remain missing, with no sign that the current government is any closer to finding them."  Thus, Amina Ali, Laraba John, and Ruth Kolo are still among the missing as their heartbroken families weep for their loved ones. 

It is, sadly, an eerie repeat of history, where the most helpless among us are abused in the most dastardly ways possible. 

In 1827, Russian Czar Nicholas I called for the conscription of Jewish boys between the ages of 12 and 25.  In fact, he "singled out Jewish children for persecution, their baptism being a high priority to him. No other group in Russia was expected to serve at such a young age, nor were other groups of recruits tormented in the same way. Nicholas wrote in a confidential memorandum, '[t]he chief benefit to be derived from the drafting of the Jews is the certainty that it will move them most effectively to change their religion.'"

This conscription was for a 25-year term.

As a result, "50,000 Jewish children were taken by force from their homes and inducted into the Russian army.  The boys, raised in traditional Jewish villages, were pressured via every possible means, including torture, to accept baptism. Many resisted and some managed to maintain their Jewish identity. The magnitude of their struggle is difficult to conceive."

Indeed, the magnitude of the struggle for little Christine or any of the modern-day child victims is unimaginable.

How might they fare if we were ever to see them again?  In looking back, we learn:

Most of the cantonists said goodbye to their families -- forever -- that day [.] The children and adults frantically screamed and wept. Even after traveling several miles, Itzkovich [one of the cantonists] and his companions still heard their relatives' cries.

If the boys cried, they were beaten. Many became ill and died before they arrived at their next destination, Petersburg.

From Petersburg, Itzkovich and his detachment were forcibly marched to the Siberian city of Archangelsk. The march lasted from November 1853 to June 1854. En route, the children were beaten and harassed and many perished. The road was littered with their corpses.

Finally, they entered . . . Archangelsk [where] life for Itzkovich and his unit was one of extreme hardship, full of torture and suffering. Beatings and pressure to accept baptism occurred throughout the day. Even after Itzkovich contracted an eye disease, a non-commissioned officer beat him with his fists.

The older cantonists, between the ages of 12 and 15, were tortured for longer durations. They were beaten and whipped so severely that many of them died of their wounds. Under these conditions, most of the boys, understandably, did not resist for long. They finally consented, albeit against their wishes, to accept conversion.

One boy resisted. Every morning he was placed on a bench and given at least 100 strokes of a birch, leaving him bleeding and reeling in agony. After each birching, he was sent to the infirmary where he was treated and then soon beaten again. He absorbed the abuse, did not cry out, and did not relent.

Indeed, the "objective of the Russian authorities was to alienate the cantonist children-recruits from their own people and religion."  In addition, "they were forbidden to pray or even to talk in their own language[.]"

Now, almost 200 years later, "[i]n the summer of 2014, IS issued a statement concerning Christian minorities, saying '[w]e offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of jizya [poll tax]; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.'  Hours after this ultimatum was proclaimed, the jihadis began painting the letter 'n' on Christian homes in Mosul.  [In] Arabic, Christians are known as 'Nasara,' or 'Nazarenes' – signaling them out for the slaughter to come and prompting a mass exodus of Christians from the region.  Many older and disabled Iraqi Christians, unable to pay the jizya or join the exodus, opted to convert to Islam."

And yet, one learns of the refusal of Ethiopian Christians who accepted execution over conversion to Islam.  Thus, "the chain of martyrs has not finished[.] Christians do not seek martyrdom" yet they pronounced "the name of Christ and relied on Him as they were being slaughtered."

Whether it is the Jew reciting the shema, a prayer affirming allegiance to Judaism and a declaration of faith in one God, or the Christian showing devotion to Christ, we are witnessing incredible courage and righteous faith.  Yet "the slaughter of Christians and other 'infidels' will continue – regardless of whether we call the jihad 'al-Qaeda,' 'ISIS,' 'Boko Haram,' 'Al Shabaab,' or 'Lone Wolf' as the jihad rages on."

A folk poem of the time reflects the anguish of the Jewish cantonist children and echoes the modern-day yearning of those who are being tormented and slaughtered by Islamist jihadists.

Tears flood the streets
bathed in the blood of children –
The fledglings are torn from heder [school]
And thrust into uniform – Alas! What bitterness.
Will day never dawn?

Eileen can be reached at