Iraq (MNN)–Violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq predictably rose in the days following Saddam Hussein’s execution.
Open Doors USA’s Carl Moeller says it’s the force behind the continued exodus of the church. “That creates a huge problem because the church is fleeing in large numbers and that is creating an increased vacuum of buffer between the Sunni and Shia factions throughout Iraq. That is only increasing the violence as those two factions are dedicated to each others’ destruction.”
In recent days, there have been occassional reports of churches being targeted for vandalism, and several burned to the ground. According to Michel Gabaudan of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), that’s becoming very clear.
On December 15, Gabaudan was quoted as having told the Associated Press, “A year ago, the plight of the Christian community was not very well known. But that has changed, because we now have very clear evidence that they have been persecuted.”
Moeller says Open Doors is making an impact with continued Scripture distribution. One of their coordinators says their team is dedicated. “Our workers drive around in the country with their cars full of Christian books to as many churches and bookshops as possible.”
They’re changing the face of the book market throughout the country, especially among the children. Moeller explains, “The children are the most impacted by these Bibles, because they’ve never had a children’s Bible. Most of them have never, ever had a book that had pictures along with the stories. Working with an Arab publisher, we’ve been able to produce a Bible that is absolutely beautiful and these kids just light up on it.”
One of their distributors says, “During the regime of Saddam Hussein there was not much Christian literature available. After the war in 2003, it is slowly improving; so every book and Bible is welcome in the country.”
Open Doors has distributed 22,000 copies of the Children’s Bible in Iraq and most of the toddler’s Bibles have found their way to houses in Baghdad and some cities in the north. Summed up, Moeller says it boils down to prayer. “Pray for safety for our Open Doors co-workers in Iraq and that the literature will touch the hearts of those it reaches.”