Uncertainty for Iraqi Christians follows quiet handover.

By June 29, 2004

Iraq (MNN)–A quiet handover of Iraq’s sovereignty was done in a secret ceremony over the weekend.

Officials said the surprise move was designed to outflank insurgents who had threatened terrorist attacks to disrupt the handover, and to avoid the complex security arrangements that a public ceremony required.

In spite of the triumph of a sovereign state, the modesty of the handover revealed an Iraq too dangerous to publicly mark the most significant date since the fall of Baghdad.

Government officials are not the only ones to note this. Open Doors’ Jerry Dykstra says the violence preceding the handover was also problematic for the Iraqi Christian minority. “We have postponed all training seminars in Iraq because of the increased violence in that area but we are still sending in literature. We have opened a Christian center in Baghdad and we’re planning other things depending on the climate in the next few weeks.”

However, the difference between the government and the church is that the Christian community can’t breathe a sigh of relief yet.

Dykstra says believers are not confident they will be left alone as the days ahead sort out the politics. “The Christians in Iraq have been living in fear and in sort of uncertainty because of what’s going to happen and they’re kind of unsure about the future. Of course, they put their trust in the Lord, but all these violent acts really ups their anxiety level.”

Pray for the violence to come to an end and that the transition of power will be smooth. Pray that Iraqi Christians and other Christians working and severing in Iraq will be kept safe. And pray that Christians will be allowed to worship our Lord in freedom as a new government is formed later this year.

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