Iraq (MNN) — The battle between the Kurd, Sunni, and Shiite factions for control of Iraq continues. Sunni militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have carved out new boundaries in Iraq that may never go back. This is causing great difficulty for all involved, but especially Christians.
Middle East expert with E3 Partners Tom Doyle says ISIS has a terrible reputation. “This is a group that was considered too radical for al-Qaeda. They threw them out. Some of the things that have happened are just so detestable, what they even do to their victims after they kill them. The only thing I can liken it to is Nineveh.”
Doyle says Christians in Mosul are being terrorized with Sharia, or Islamic law. “Women have to be veiled. Families are being told they have to convert to Islam or pay the jizya tax: you either convert, you’re killed, or you pay a tax.”
But some Christians have been treated well. Doyle tells us why. “Probably to use them as human shields, or some kind of barrier. Last week they were doing some things to act like humanitarians. They were even giving nuns rides to different places, trying to convince them that they’re there for the good of the people.”
This has created an even larger refugee crisis. One million people, or one in five Iraqis, are now displaced. That’s in addition to the more than one million refugees who have already left Syria.
Doyle says Christians are actively sharing Christ’s love and compassion. “We’re supporting refugees in several countries: Syrian refugees that have gone into Jordan and Lebanon, and Iraqi refugees that are fleeing to other parts of the country. And, as people give, that will help feed them and clothe them. Also, none of that happens without a clear presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Doyle says refugees have turned to Christ. “We have seen at least 600 Sunni Muslims come to faith in Christ because of acts of kindness from believers as they pray and as they have donated to help feed and clothe them. It’s paying off.”