|Sources of Persecution||Islamic Oppression|
|Leader||President Fuad Masum|
Iraq: The Search For Safety.
The rise of Islamic State (IS) in 2014 has taken a huge toll on the country. Many are nervous about the Islamic State even though several Christian towns have been recaptured by the Iraqi army. In the words of Father Yacoub, speaking from his damaged church in the liberated Bartella, Iraq, “We have always asked Christians to pray with us so that we will be freed from IS. What the worldwide church has prayed for has now become a reality. Now we ask you to pray for us as we are going to rebuild our lives here.”
Around 70% of the Christians in Iraq have left since the 1990's. Half of those remaining are now internally displaced. Hoping to find a secure place to stay, some Christians have to move several times a day. It has become too dangerous for many families to stay within the country. Many churches have been attacked and believers kidnapped and murdered.
The war has had a huge impact, especially on children. Many are in a permanent state of fear. Joanna, a trauma care worker in Iraq, reports, “If not battled, this type of trauma will move from generation to generation, making new victims every time.”
Everyday life has changed drastically for believers. Communities often have to obey Islamic ways of life. Alcohol is restricted and some shops where it's sold are bombed. Women are controlled more than ever, they are pressured to veil themselves whenever they leave the house. In some areas Christian women are expected to be covered entirely. If Islamic laws aren't obeyed, Christians are treated violently. Converting from Islam to Christianity in an IS controlled area is practically a death warrant.
Rebuilding and Sustaining Believers.
Open Doors is supporting local partners and churches on the ground in Iraq. Bibles are being translated for the Kurdish families and churches are being rebuilt. Micro loans are available for those wanting to create their own stream of income. Crisis relief is also provided for Christians displaced in their own country. Local partners also train pastors in how to help those suffering from trauma.
Large areas of Iraq are controlled by Islamic extremists and many more Christians may be forced to flee. Pray for peace and stability.
Pray for protection for those who remain in Iraq, especially the pastors who feel called to stay and share the gospel. Pray that children’s hearts and minds will be protected as they live in this warzone.
Pray for believers to be bold in sharing the love of Christ with those who persecute them.