Christians targets in Iraq

By October 14, 2008

Iraq (MNN) — News and information is coming in about a huge increase in violence taking place in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. According to an Associated Press report, a Christian music store owner was shot to death in Mosul Monday. Also, in the past week approximately 3,000 Christians have fled the city due to the violence.

Armed Islamic terrorists are walking the streets and asking pedestrians for his or her identification card. The religion of the owner is written on every ID card, either Muslim or Christian. When "Christian" is read by the terrorists, the owner of the card is sometimes murdered on the spot with a bullet through the head.

Jerry Dykstra Open Doors says this is just one of many persecution stories. "According to one of our contacts in Iraq, 25 to 40 Christians have been murdered in Mosul. Other reports have it at five to 12 Christians. Nevertheless, there's a tremendous need for prayer for our brothers and sisters in Mosul."

According to Dykstra, "There used to be 200,000 Christians in Mosul, but now, there's about 90,000 left."

They could be leaving soon, too, unless something changes. Some claim this is genocide.

Christians worldwide are asked to pray for the safety and security of the small group of Christians left in Mosul. Open Doors received the following urgent email with prayer points from one of its contacts in Iraq:

"This email is a prayer request for Iraq, the people in general, and especially the city of Mosul (known also as Nineveh) and the Christians there. During the last four to five days, around 25 Christians (some say 40) were killed in the streets in different parts of the city for religious and political reasons. In the past, people were kidnapped or threatened to pay a ransom to be freed, but now they are being killed without prior notice…and the government has not done anything so far to stop it. Even the media did not cover it until the third day. Many Christians have fled to the nearby villages and cities where they are living under severe conditions; families are sleeping in their car). Fear and worry fill the place."

Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has vowed to protect Christians in Mosul and sent 1,000 police to the region. Reports indicate that a major operation by security forces aimed at displacing insurgents has been under way for months in Mosul, which is considered by U.S. and Iraqi commanders as the last urban stronghold of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Dykstra says Iraqi Christians are asking you to pray "for the terrorists to know the real God and experience His love. Also, for the Christians in Mosul, that they will not forget that no matter what they lose, they still have a place Jesus has prepared from them in Heaven."

Christians leaving Mosul will severely impact ministry. "Mosul is where Christians have lived for 1,800 years, and so this is a place where we need to have those Christians remain and be a witness to others. And so, that's one of our prayer requests: that people will not flee."

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