War in Iraq forces Christmas celebrations underground.

By December 25, 2006

Iraq (MNN)–Iraqi Christians are refraining from public Christmas celebrations due to the increasingly ‘grave security situation’.

The latest statistics show Christians in Iraq are in the extreme minority. Muslims make up some 97 percent of the population. Christians who have been accused by extremists as agents of the West have frequently been targeted in murders and kidnappings prompting many to flee abroad.

Words of Hope’s Lee DeYoung. “It seems likely, too, that as there are militants there willing to blow themselves up and willing to engage in jihad, that some of them, when they identify active Christians, pastors or elders, also pay a particular attention to intimidate and stop their activities as well.”

This year has been the worst since the war began. Church bombings, car bombings, kidnappings and killings have become commonplace. The effect on evangelistic work? “The number of Christians there has decreased. Many who had options to go to other places have left or gone underground. So, in general, the attendance at churches, which had been functioning above ground and openly before, seems to have diminished in most cases.”

However, because of the uncertainty of war, many Muslims really are seeking after God. They have a hunger to know Him, and as they have opportunities to talk with Christians, they find a common quest to discover God, and many are finding Jesus.

Words of Hope broadcasts Christian radio in Arabic and Farsi throughout the Middle East.

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