December 9, 2023


Colin WilsonwebAfter receiving this email from a number of readers I have dedicated this space to republishing it.

I have also published the report about the truth of the email from Snopes

“Just received this urgent prayer email below from Don Clark, FCCI Area Leader from Chicago. Samaritan’s Purse is headed by Pres. & CEO Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham. Please PRAY and forward this email to your sphere with thanks.

“James O. White CPA | Ambassador

“Prayer warriors needed urgently!

“Dear Friends,

“Just a few minutes ago I received the following text message on my phone from Sean Malone who leads Crisis Relief International (CRI).

“We then spoke briefly on the phone and I assured him that we would share this urgent prayer need with all of our contacts.

“We lost the city of Queragosh (Qaraqosh).   It fell to ISIS and they are beheading children systematically.

“This is the city we have been smuggling food too. ISIS has pushed back Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) and is within 10 minutes of where our CRI team is working.

“Thousands more fled into the city of Erbil last night. The UN evacuated staff in Erbil.

“Our team is unmoved and will stay.

“Prayer cover needed!” Please pray sincerely for the deliverance of the people of Northern Iraq from the terrible advancement of ISIS and its extreme Islamic goals for mass conversion or death for Christians across this region. May I plead with you not to ignore this email.

“Do not forward it before you have prayed through it. Then send it to as many people as possible. Send it to friends and Christians you may know. Send it to your prayer group. We need to stand in the gap for our fellow Christians.”



Urgent Prayers for Queragosh

Claim:   Prayers are needed for the city of Queragosh (Qaraqosh), which has fallen to ISIS and is seeing Christian children being beheaded in large numbers.

Origins:   In August 2014, an urgent prayer request attributed to Sean Malone of Crisis Relief International began to circulate heavily on social media. The immediacy of the post’s tone and the frightening content it contained concerned many social media users. Subsequently, concern for Christian children at risk due to ISIS activity in Iraq escalated and prompted a number of panicked queries as to the message’s veracity.

While the worrisome message was repeated widely, the text and content didn’t vary all that much. The urgency of tone and lack of specific date appears to have escalated the virality of the plea – The Message republished above is repeated.

Since the message appeared in August 2014, concern for the situation described in the message has not abated. At around the time Malone’s plea began appearing in inboxes, news out of Iraq indicated that the situation had indeed become dire, and the UK’s Telegraph quoted Joseph Thomas, the Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah as saying on 7 August 2014:

I now know that the towns of Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella and Karamlesh have been emptied of their original population and are now under the control of the militants … It’s a catastrophe, a tragic situation. We call on the UN Security Council to immediately intervene. Tens of thousands of terrified people are being displaced as we speak, it cannot be described.”

Thomas did not mention the beheading of children by ISIS in Queragosh (Qaraqosh) or elsewhere in the tumultuous region, but his tone too was that of extreme worry, pleading for intervention by NGOs to assist displaced residents. Understandably, many of faith were moved either way to pray for the Christians in this war-torn region of Iraq but also worriedly sought to discern whether children were being horrifically beheaded in large numbers.

Claims that ISIS beheaded children have circulated separately from the Sean Malone forward, but are often appended with a graphic and inaccurate image. That picture, showing a young, decapitated female child, was taken in Syria in 2013.

Several concerned users took to the Facebook page of Crisis Response International to ask about the Sean Malone forward, and the person or persons who manage the CRI page have been fielding queries about whether the original message was possibly misconstrued or sent in haste. On 17 September 2014, CRI said:

That email was an urgent prayer alert sent to close friends over a month ago that somehow got leaked out. The reports of beheadings were what we were hearing from local pastors and other sources. The information was never meant to be blasted out publicly but for prayer as ISIS closed in our teams.

… We know of 5 children that were beheaded and this is from a city official on the ground.

An update later the same evening read:

Again this text was sent to a handful of people and was leaked. These were the reports that we were getting at that time and are now being confirmed. It wasn’t intended for public information but perhaps it was by divine intervention. In our opinion one child beheaded is an all out outrage. We have other reports as well that we are in the process of confirming. We have done our best to post info on this page on our website and in emails about this issue.

The undated message about systemic beheadings of children in Queragosh lends itself to eternal forwarding, but as many have pointed out, much of the information is secondhand. There is little doubt Christians are being displaced and even persecuted in cities including Queragosh, but no reports of any incidents matching the claim of “systematic” beheadings have been confirmed.

Last updated:   17 September 2014

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