"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NASB)
We must rise up in prayer in the authority we have in Christ and say enough is enough! Our family in Iraq are counting on us to stand side by side with them as they are being crushed.
Our continued prayers come after the Islamist militants controlling the Iraqi city of Mosul ordered all remaining Christians to leave town immediately or face execution late last week, according to news sources.
The BBC reports that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) instructed Christians to either convert to Islam or pay a tax to the Muslim leadership of the community as a 'protection fee'. The statement from ISIS concluded, "…if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword”.
While some families initially appeared prepared to pay the Islamic tax to stay in their homes, according to The Australian, messages broadcast from mosques on Friday caused a mass exodus of the few Christians remaining in the city.
Some reports suggest Christians have been stopped at checkpoints by militants and had money, jewellery, mobile phones and even medicines confiscated. A World Watch Monitor source* in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan region, said a Christian Mosul family attempting to pass through a local checkpoint were forced out of their car by ISIS agents and had their belongings confiscated. They were then put in a separate vehicle, driven several minutes down the road and ultimately forced out to continue their journey on foot.
According to Patriarch Louis Sako - one of the most senior Christian clerics in Iraq - Christians from Mosul "are on their way to Dohuk and Irbil," in the neighbouring autonomous region of Kurdistan. The patriarch explained to the BBC that the number of Christians in Iraq's second largest city was as high as 60,000 before the US-led invasion of 2003, and had dropped to around 35,000 by June this year. A further 10,000 had left since ISIS' arrival a month ago.
But after this past weekend, he says, "For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians."
This is an urgent call to the Church worldwide to rise up in prayer. One Church leader in Iraq says, "I urge you to knock on the heavens gates to bring this to an end, and to notify the authorities in your country to step forward to spare the lives of our brothers and sisters.”
Sources: World Watch Monitor, MEC, The Australian, BBC
*Name cannot be given due to security reasons
Find us on:
This is a once-off Open Doors Australia email. If you do not wish to receive any emails from Open Doors Australia, please reply with the subject "unsubscribe".
Please remember to add email@example.com to your contact list so we don't end up in your junk mail!