Christians Persecuted In Iraq
Christians are persecuted all around the world for their faith in Jesus, however, in Northern Iraq, that persecution is extreme.
Preliminary estimates indicate thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced throughout the Middle East. However, with such secrecy concealing the religious genocide, no one will ever be sure.
“Christians have lived in Iraq for two millennia but are currently on the verge of extinction,” according to a statement on the website of Open Doors USA. “Iraq has suffered from years of structural uncertainty, conflict and instability under a government incapable of enforcing the rule of law and providing a minimum of security.” Open Doors USA is a charity dedicated to helping persecuted Christians oversees. They work in over sixty nations.
Open Doors USA referenced a Pew Center study which found that “over 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions (and many of these people are Christians).” They also referenced a statement from the U.S. Department of State which said, “Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.” Sadly, that persecution has escalated to extreme violence, with beheadings, crucifixions and maiming.
Some Christians have lost everything and their homes were burned down. Bishop Nicodemus Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, who gave a heart-wrenching interview on 60 minutes, reportedly had just five minutes to gather his belongings from his home. Then his friend had to smuggle him out of the country. He could not walk down the street in front of his home or he would have been shot just because he was a member of the Christian clergy.
But many of these Christians remain persistent in their faith. Bishop Sharaf told Suroyo TV “we are not leaving our Christianity, we are not leaving our Christ and we are not leaving our faith.”
There are other stories of persecution as well. Canon Andrew White pastored one of the largest churches in Baghdad, called St. George’s Church. Stories of ISIS brutality against his church members has been widely reported in the media. He has been known as the “Vicar of Baghdad.” He is Bishop Emeritus of his church now and is President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME). He works tirelessly to improve the lives of the persecuted Christians in the Middle East. He has written several books including My Story, which was released in October 2015.
We reached out to Canon Andrew White for an interview, which if granted, will be featured in an upcoming news article.