Aws is a 10-year-old refugee, having fled ISIS along with his family. Today, he is staying with his mother at a church in Sulemaniyah, Iraq. Photo: Fox News
By Kristin Wright, Director of Advocacy at Open Doors USA @bykristinwright Staring down at the hand-drawn Orthodox cross on his arm, 10-year-old Aws explains why he doesn’t want to go home. Aws was born into a Christian family living in northern Iraq. When he was just a toddler, his father was killed by jihadists. Aws’ family moved to a small village near Mosul in the wake of this tragedy, struggling for years to rebuild their lives. His mother worked hard and saved up for a new home for her family. Then ISIS struck. As Aws describes it, “The bombs were too close, and the windows all smashed. Many people were dead.- He and his family fled the violence, arriving at Maryouss, a church in-Sulemaniyah,-with thousands of other Christian refugees. Like many Iraqi Christians, Aws isn’t prepared to go back anytime soon. Asked if he wants to return to his home near Mosul, he looks down. “No, this is nicer,- he says simply. Many Christians who have fled ISIS say that, in spite of facing death, converting to Islam was never an option. “People say it would be easy to become a Muslim, but my religion is everything I now have – why would I give that up?” one believer said. “I would die first.- Open Doors USA is committed to keeping Christians like Aws safe and alive in the midst of horrifying persecution. Through crucial programs like refugee support, Christian materials and trauma counseling, we are working every day to meet their most immediate and vital needs. Join with us in providing for these vital and life-saving programs. Even a few dollars can make a world of difference to refugees who have lost everything. Thank you for standing with persecuted Christians in Iraq and all over the world.