Deadly attacks mar the run up to elections

By March 5, 2010

Iraq (MNN) — Sunday's elections
in Iraq have been heralded by unprecedented bloodshed. Which party win will
protect Christians?   

Will any party truly protect
Christians, or is the question moot? Church leaders feel the violence is clearly
linked to the elections and is meant to intimidate Christians.  

Greg Mussleman with Voice of
the Martyrs Canada
says, "They can
talk about protecting minorities, including Christians, but the reality is:
you've got these militant groups in these areas where they're not listening to
what the government is saying, and they have this desire to make it an Islamic
country."

Christians have political
representation in Parliament. Additionally, there are some Christian candidates
also presenting themselves on the secular lists.

However, although the new
constitution states that religious freedom should be respected, it states that
no proposed legislation can in any way be in violation of the "universally
agreed upon tenets of Islam." Extremists have been shielded under this
banner in their attacks.

Will the violence leading up to
elections cost even more for the followers of Christ? Musselman explains, "You get these
continuing attacks–the Shia, the Sunnis–against each other, and Islamist
militant groups, and then the Christians get caught in between that. And in some
cases, they're targeted. Do you stay and
face that kind of danger, or do you try to build a better life somewhere
else?"

Bombings of Christian religious
institutions have been common throughout the process, particularly in the Mosul
area of northern Iraq. With the volatile situation and continuing violence,
Christians in Iraq are increasingly fearful of violence directed at them by
militant Islamic groups active in Iraq. Thousands have fled to neighboring
countries.

Despite the risk, Mussleman says
there remains an undaunted remnant church. "They are trying to operate in wisdom, but to share the Gospel is
something that is so compelling to them. So if you believe that this is about
heaven and hell, and about eternity, you're willing to give your life for
it."

Pray for protection for
Christians during this time of upheaval and danger.






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