Iraq (MNN) — Voice of the Martyrs-Canada reports dismay among Christians in Iraq.
According to a recent Compass Direct account, armed Muslim men set fire to the St. George Assyrian Church in the Dora district of Baghdad ten days ago. Over the past four weeks, the threats against the Iraqi Christian community in Dora have intensified. Authorities say the Muslims poured gasoline on the church before setting it on fire.
It's not the first time the church has dealt with overt hostility. This church was bombed in a series of attacks on Assyrian churches in 2004.
Militant Muslims have reportedly again begun using the jizya, sometimes referred to as a "head tax" or a "poll tax." It was established by the Quran on non-Muslims as a means of enforcing their submission to Muslim rule. Those who refused to pay the jizya were to be killed.
Many Christian families have fled the area or sought refuge in local churches. Christian Solidarity International estimates that 100,000 Assyrian Christians have fled Iraq for Jordan, where the government refuses to grant them refugee status and has closed church schools because they are "teaching Christianity." Many more have fled for Syria.
Pray for church leaders as they provide hope to their congregations in this difficult time. Pray, too, for those who are hindering the work of the Church that they will respond to God's grace.