Fleeing war, finding hardship, Iraqi Christians find support.

By July 7, 2006

Iraq (MNN)–Shia and Sunni Muslims along with Christians have fled raging communal violence in Iraq but found hardship in neighboring countries.

The United Nations says the increase in sectarian killings pushed the number of newly displaced people to above 150,000 since the Feb. 22 attack.

Most of the religiously mixed neighborhoods are gradually disappearing as sectarian tensions force the same-faith communities together.

Many Iraqis fear a divided future if sectarian violence cannot be contained. SAT-7’s Terry Ascott says this is where Christian satellite television makes a difference.

“I think SAT-7, in this sort of ‘clutter of noise’ of doom, of gloom and negativity, comes across with the message of hope, forgiveness and love”, explains Ascott. It’s their vision to see a growing Church in the Middle East and North Africa, confident in Christian faith and witness.

It’s the hope of the Gospel that is broadcast into the regions where the refugees gather. What they’re saying is getting attention, says Ascott, because it seems, “…radically different to the messages that other TV and radio stations are carrying. In that respect, they win the hearts and minds of people in a way that no other can.” Again, moving toward the service of the community as a whole.

But, Ascott also calls Christians in the region ‘soft targets’ and says they need a lot of prayer support. “They are seen as symbolic representatives of the Western world, in some cases, and therefore become the target for protest against Western involvement in certain countries like Iraq.”

The reported exodus leaves the remnant church vulnerable. “The churches, Christian business Christian individuals have suffered terribly. They don’t have a strong advocate, or support group or militia that looks out for them.”

Leave a Reply