Photo by Christiaan Briggs
Iraqi refugees have returned to their homes in the Nineveh region. Yet, what they discovered deeply grieved them.
According to Fox News, “There were gasps, followed by tears at a small church in northern Iraq as a group of Christians returned to their parish Sunday to find that everything had been destroyed, including the statue of the Virgin Mary which Islamic State militants had decapitated before they left.”
Iraqi Christians want a voice in government that will speak for them and end the persecution.
CNN reports, “Who will guarantee Christian representation in local government? Who will make sure the persecution and killings stop? Lalo believes the international community must step in to protect Bartella and all of the Nineveh Plains. Otherwise, there will be no peace. Not for a long time.”
Christians in Iraq do not have the means to rebuild their communities.
Reuters explains, “Even if it were safe to return to Qaraqosh, Roufa and others said they did not have the means to rebuild because their livelihoods are destroyed and their savings spent.”
Many Christians from the Nineveh region fled to other areas around Iraq, particularly the Kurdish area. Not only did Christians flee around Iraq, they also fled to other countries.
Per Fox News, “Many residents of Keramlis, an ancient Assyrian town less than 18 miles (29 kilometers) southeast of Mosul, now live in camps in Iraq’s Kurdish region. Hundreds of others fled to neighboring countries, Europe, the United States and further afield.”
Open Doors seeks to provide materials and aid to persecuted Christians.
Open Doors reports, “For over 60 years, Open Doors has worked in the world’s most oppressive countries, empowering Christians who are persecuted for their beliefs. Open Doors equips persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries through programs like Bible & Gospel Development, Women & Children Advancement and Christian Community Restoration.”
Open Doors is reaching Iraqi Christians with aid.
According to Open Doors USA, “Your gift now will help rebuild homes and churches in Iraq, and provide trauma care and encouraging biblical resources to Iraqi Christians as they return home.”
Please pray for comfort for the Christians of Iraq as they return home and as they find everything in wreck. Pray also for them to be bold.
Fox News: Gasps, tears as Iraqis return to IS-destroyed parish
Reuters: Ransacked homes and little hope for returning Iraqi Christians
CNN: In biblical lands of Iraq, Christianity in peril after ISIS
Open Doors USA: Stand With Iraqi Christians