AMMAN — A Syrian watch group is reporting that a 15-year-old boy was executed in front of his parents on Sunday after arguing with another individual about the Islamic religion.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in Britain states that an Islamic group linked to al Qaeda shot Mohammad Qataa in the face and neck after seizing him Saturday as a crowd gathered to watch.
“The Observatory cannot ignore these crimes, which only serve the enemies of the revolution and the enemies of humanity,” the organization stated.
It reports that witnesses informed them that Qataa, who sold coffee in his neighborhood as a street vendor, had been overheard declaring, “Even if the prophet Mohammad comes down, I will not become a believer.”
Islamic men with a group formerly known as Nusra Front then took the teenager into custody, who reportedly was seen with whiplash marks on his body.
“People gathered around him and a member of the fighting brigade said: ‘Generous citizens of Aleppo, disbelieving in God is polytheism and cursing the prophet is a polytheism. Whoever curses even once will be punished like this,'” the Observatory outlined. “He then fired two bullets from an automatic rifle in view of the crowd and in front of the boy’s mother and father, and got into a car and left.”
Rami Abdulrahman, the leader of the Observatory, stated that Qataa’s mother had pleaded with the men to spare his life, but to no avail.
Syria is listed as #11 of the 50 most dangerous places to live as a Christian, according to the World Watch List released by the persecution watch group Open Doors USA.
“Before the civil war, although meetings were monitored, Christians were respected in society, but this is rapidly changing,” it reports on its website. “Muslim Background Believers (Christians from a Muslim Background) face opposition from family and friends, and also now from foreign extremist fighters and mercenaries.”
“Previously, Christians were persecuted for supporting the government, or not taking sides,” the group continues. “Now a clear religious motive has been added by the influx of these foreign radicals. Many Christians have been abducted, physically harmed and killed, churches damaged or destroyed, and tens of thousands of Christians have fled.”
It is not known whether Qataa was a Christian, or whether he simply rejected Islam. Some also question whether the men who killed Qataa were Syrian citizens, as their use of Arabic suggested otherwise. However, reports state that the country has been controlled by Islamists in some areas since civil war broke out last year.
According to the Book of Acts in the Bible, the Apostle Paul, then known as Saul, was on the road to Damascus, Syria to arrest Christians when he had an encounter with Jesus that forever changed his life. He then became an evangelist and began preaching the Gospel to the nations, until he was beheaded in Rome in approximately 65 A.D.