Muslims associate Iraqi Christians with the West and increase persecution

By January 17, 2024

Iraq (MNN) — The Israel-Hamas war is raising tensions in Iraq, where Iranian missile strikes recently killed four civilians in Kurdish Erbil.

Iran’s military says it attacked Erbil in response to Israeli “atrocities” in Lebanon. Israel unleashed an intense barrage of air strikes in southern Lebanon yesterday in its ongoing battle against Hezbollah militants.

Regional activities and responses prove the old saying: “Everything in the Middle East is connected.”

The U.S. makes a convenient target in Iraq because it’s aligned with Israel. Iranian-backed militias have launched more than 100 attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria since the war began in Gaza.

“After October 8, Iranian militias [in] Iraq began to lob rockets, shoot mortars at different U.S. bases, as well as the embassy,” Samuel* with Redemptive Stories says.

“The U.S. went to Iraq and said, ‘You need to deal with these militias inside your borders,’ and Iraq said, ‘Who are you to tell us what to do?’”

In the eyes of Muslim neighbors, Iraqi Christians become guilty by association. “The evangelical church in Iraq is connected, at least by proxy, with the U.S. But the church locally has done its best to distance itself from the U.S. policy related to Gaza,” Samuel notes.

Nevertheless, perception is reality. “It’s understood that the heart of evangelical Christianity is American. Because of that, they may and are receiving additional persecution,” Samuel says.

Oppression is nothing new for believers in Iraq, but that doesn’t make it easy to endure. Ask the Lord to strengthen believers and praise Him for His faithfulness.

“God is still at work amid all the chaos and mess,” Samuel says.

Believers outside Iraq need to “pray for our brothers and sisters and stand with them as best we can financially to help them share the truth with their neighbors,” he adds.





Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of 12019/Pixabay.

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