'If you don't have a sword, buy one,' Iraqi Christian militia commander quotes from the Bible, to justify the group's fight against ISIS

Christians in Iraq have united to form their own militia called the Babylonian Brigade to protect people from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Rayan al-Kildani, the commander of the Babylonian Brigade, said their group was left with no choice but to take up arms against the extremists who are targeting Christians.

Iraqi Christians volunteers, who have joined Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilization), allied with Iraqi forces against the Islamic State. | Reuters/Stringer

"[ISIS] displaced us from our houses, they took our money, killed our young men and women and they took our properties," al-Kildani told NBC news. "What the Islamic State was doing to the Christians is terrible ... They are the devil," he added.

The Babylonian Brigade has fought alongside Muslim militias. Al-Kildani claimed that they have good defenses and that they are "the first Christian power in Iraqi history."

Additionally, the group has convinced the central government to cover their expenses, receiving about $1.4 billion (£1 billion) a year, which would be more than $600 (£450) per man a month.

On April 11, Iraq BBC correspondent, Owen Bennett-Jones, was able to sit down with al-Kildani in an interview.

Bennett-Jones revealed that at first, he was unsure about taking al-Kildani seriously because the latter had refused to provide details on the number of people in the militia, as it was said to be a military secret; however, the information was later on disclosed. It turned out that the Babylonian Brigade has recruited about 100,000 armed volunteers in the past two years.

The BBC correspondent probed on about the beliefs of the Christian militia group.

"What about the commandment: Thou shall not kill?" Bennet-Jones asked al-Kildani.

"We have to fight. We have to defend ourselves ... Jesus himself told us that if you don't have a sword you should go out and buy one," al-Kildani responded.

Al-Kildani was citing a passage from Luke chapter 22, verse 36 that says, "If you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."

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