World Watch Monitor, 18 January 2017:

One of the major themes explored in Martin Scorsese’s film, Silence, is the question of how to respond when faced with a choice between denying one’s faith or facing death.

Christians in 17th century Japan were given this choice, and the same choice was given to Zarefa, an elderly Iraqi Christian woman, when the Islamic State captured her town in 2014. During a raid on the house where she was staying, IS fighters found a few crucifixes and other Christian images – strictly illegal under IS rule. “They forced me to spit on the Cross,” Zarefa recalls. “I told them that it was not appropriate, that it was a sin. He said that I must spit….

Read more about Zarefa