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Iraqi Christians face increasing violence as elections approach.

By January 25, 2005

Iraq (MNN)–In five days, Iraq will hold an historic national election.

The future of the troubled country is at stake, and no group is watching the outcome with more concern than Christians. According to a report from Voice of the Martyrs’ Canada, militants are becoming increasingly bold, launching numerous attacks on Iraqi churches in recent months, especially in the Mosul area of northern Iraq.

While the Vatican officially does not consider the recent kidnapping of an archbishop as “anti-Christian,” believers in Iraq have faced continued terrorist threats, prompting as many as 60,000 to flee the country for Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

The added difficulty comes when certain fundamentalist groups see the church as a symbol or reflection of the Western world or when they assume church members are collaborators with the U.S.-led occupying forces.

Casting a vote is dangerous for the Christian community. One church official was quoted as saying that believers are between a rock and a hard place. “If they vote, the others will retaliate, but if they don’t vote, they will be losing something, too,”

Pray for those involved in outreach in these areas. Whether elections will lead toward a stable interim government or, in a worst-case scenario, a civil war, the church and supporting agencies have vowed that they will continue their work in Iraq.

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