December 21, 2010
MCLEAN VA. (ANS) -- Christmas should be a time of great joy for all Christians. But festivities appear unlikely this year for believers living in Iraq.
In a news release, Barnabas Fund said it received a heart rending report from a senior church leader who assists Iraqi Christian refugees in Syria.
Barnabas Fund said the report reveals the desperate plight of the Christians still inside Iraq. That plight has worsened since the Oct. attack on a church in Baghdad, and Al-Qaeda's statement that all Christians and Christian institutions were "legitimate targets."
Barnabas Fund called the report a message that needs to be heard urgently by governments and Christians in the West.
The report said in some of the cities the streets are almost empty of Christians. Their conditions are no longer bearable. People are living behind locked doors, compelled to take long leaves of absence from work in Mosul and other cities, as a result of the dangers they face at work.
In addition to the streets, the report said, the universities are almost empty of Christian students, as are the schools.
For the affected individuals, the report said, it is like being in prison - without work, study and church. Fear rules everywhere.
Threats and insults are daily occurrences, the report continued, and offensive graffiti is smeared on the walls of the homes of these innocent people.
The report said there is not a solution to this terrible situation. People are deprived of everything that could bring security to their lives; all they can do is depend on God's mercy or leave for the north. However, traveling to the north requires more financial resources than are usually available. Rents are very high there, as is the cost of living in general.
The report said there is a grim reality for those living in the south. If a Christian wants to rent out his house and leave, the terrorists will force the person renting the house to pay the rent to them, because according to them this house is theirs by right.
And, the report continued, if a house owner dared to sell his property, they would threaten the person who bought it, so ultimately all the money would go to the terrorists.
The report gave some terrifying examples of situations being faced by people.
Two young men working in the industrial area in Mosul as blacksmiths, used to pay 300,000 Iraqi Dinars a month to the terrorists in order to be spared their lives. This however, in the end, did not prevent them from being killed in their workshop, leaving eleven people unsupported.
A 26-year-old man working in a Mini Market, had his store attacked by terrorists demanding various items. He was shot dead. This occurred in broad daylight in Mosul, at the beginning of Dec.
The report said there are many other horrific stories of tragedy. They portray tales of terrorism, fear, unbearable living conditions and children being threatened.
Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, has called for immediate international intervention to help Iraq's Christians, and for prayer on their behalf.
Barnabas Fund provides assistance for the persecuted church. For more information go to www.barnabasfund.org
Copyright 2010 ASSIST News Service. Used by permission.