IRAQ – UNFOLDING TRAGEDY FOR CHRISTIANS

http://www.barnabasfund.org Since the horrific siege at a church in Baghdad in October, murderers have continued their relentless campaign against Christians, targeting them in their homes and workplaces. In late November Christian brothers Saad and Raad Hannah were shot dead in their car workshop in Mosul. This followed the assassination of two other Christians when gunmen burst into their Mosul home. On December 5, four men raided the Baghdad home of an elderly Christian couple, Hikmat and Samira Sammak, and their daughter and shot them all with silenced pistols.

Fearing for their lives, hundreds of Christian families are fleeing Baghdad and Mosul in waves, either leaving the country altogether or heading to the northern cities. The refugees leave behind their homes, possessions and work. Although the authorities have promised to give US$400 to every family who moves, some are saying that this is not enough to cover even one month’s rent for an apartment in the north.

Barnabas Aid has received a heart-rending report from a senior church leader who organizes care for Iraqi Christian refugees in Syria. The report says, “Their conditions are no longer bearable. The people are living behind locked doors… In some of the cities even the streets are almost empty of Christians… It is as if they are in prison… Fear rules over all situations and in all places.”

On December 1 all the representatives of Christian communities withdrew from the Erbil Conference for Coexistence and Social Tolerance, which was organized by the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry. Their refusal to take part was to express their anger at and condemnation of the continued targeting of Christians in Iraq and a demonstration against the government regarding their apparent lack of concern for the security of Christians.

A senior Iraqi church leader has reported to Barnabas Aid that a number of churches in Mosul have canceled their planned Christmas services because of the great danger of anti-Christian violence at Christmas.

  • Pray that the Lord will comfort the families of those who were murdered in the last few months.
  • Pray for His provision for families who leave their homes in search of safety and for protection and peace for those Christians who choose to stay in their homes.
  • Pray that the international community will recognize its responsibilities to the persecuted Christians of Iraq and take urgent action to help them.
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