Christians continue leaving Iraq

By October 12, 2004

Iraq (MNN) — It’s growing problem and workers in Iraq are concerned. According to Compass Direct the number of Christians leaving the country continues to rise and little is being done to curb the exodus.

Jerry Dykstra is with Open Doors, USA and ministry who serves the persecuted church around the world. Dykstra says, “Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Christians have fled the country to places like Jordan and Syria.” That means there are now only 800,000 Christians in Iraq.

Dykstra says suicide bombings in Iraq have scared believers. “Many Iraqi Christians are not going to church (and) they’re not going out of their homes because of all the violence that’s going on there. So, we’ve just got to pray for peace to come there and that the elections will come in January and that Christians will be represented in those elections.”

The story behind the story is that Christians are more fearful than the average Iraqi. “What you don’t hear is that many Christians are being specifically targeted because of their Christian faith because they’re viewed as collaborators because they share the same religion.” That’s making it incredibly tough for Iraqi believers.

Despite the fear, Dykstra says the work of Open Doors continues. “Some of our training seminars have been post-poned, however Open Doors is still active in Iraq, (we’re) sending in Christian literature into Iraq, especially for children and youth and opening a Christian center in Baghdad.” He says ministry is going on and lives are being changed.

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