Iraqi Christians leaving in droves

By August 20, 2004

Iraq (MNN) — Government sources say tens of thousands of Christians have fled Iraq where fierce battles rage between American forces and those loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. That is a major concern for SAT-7, Christian television for the Middle East and North Africa, an organization beaming programming into Iraq.

SAT-7’s Glen Hartson says, “Strangely enough under Saddam Hussein, Christians were kind of left a lone. Now with the change, which has been wonderful from one sense, from a Christian sense they are now being caught in this political scenario.”

The politics in Iraq has changed so much that it’s turned violent for believers. Hartson says, “There have been bombings, there have been threats. It has been very, very difficult for Christians now living in that region. They’re feeling persecution in significant ways.”

SAT-7 is inserting a lot of small program elements to encourage believers to stay in Iraq. Hartson says if the exodus continues it could be devastating for evangelism. “It could be a very disastrous situation. With this occurring it’s going to put that country at a point in which it may have very little Christian witness. So, that is of great concern.”

Hartson says the best thing people can do right now is pray that those inflicting persecution will be restricted. “That God’s hand will be truly on the Christians in the region so that they can not only be protected from what’s going on, but they can be encouraged and can continue to witness.”

You can support SAT-7 and their effort to beam Christian programming into Iraq and other Middle Eastern and Northern African nations. Go to their web site, SAT7.org.

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