Iraq (MNN)–Open Doors says terrorists and armed gangs specifically targeted Iraqi Christians in 2006. According to their report, there are four violent groups are active in Iraq: Sunnite insurgents who used to belong to Saddam’s Baath Party, Sunnites who are fighting for Al Qaeda, Shiites, and a group comprised of criminals and gangs who don’t belong to any of the other insurgency groups.
Reasons are different for the intimidation, kidnappings or murders of believers, but the main reason seems to be finances. The abuse the Christians endure seems aimed at funding the ethnic group squabbles.
That’s resulted in a mass exodus of the Christian population from the country. In 1991, approximately 900,000 Christians lived in Iraq. Today there are about half that number in the country. Most Christians left Iraq in the 1990s, but last year, another exodus seems to have taken place.
Open Doors’ Carl Moeller says what remains is a dedicated remnant. “One of our co-workers there has told us that the violence is incredible. People are dying and yet our co-workers continue to risk their lives by going out in cars full of Bibles and Christian literature to Christian communities and delivering material resources to strengthen the church.”
Christians have little protection or respect. Risk for evangelism is huge. It boils down to prayer. Moeller, again: “I think the future of the church is like the future of Iraq. It’s uncertain. We recognize the necessity for establishing stability in that country that has a direct bearing on the state of the church, the physical presence of the church, as well as the political presences, and the way that the church can be a force for peace.”
One partner helping to resource the church there says, “In 2007 we hope to bring 145,000 pieces of literature to the Iraqi Christians. About 400 people will receive training, and we want to spend $160,000 on socio- economic development.” Click here if you want to help.