August 14th, Newsflashes from the Persecuted Church
Iraq: Open Doors Providing Needed Aid to Thousands of Displaced, Suffering Families
The temperature hit 113 degrees in the city of Erbil today.
The thousands of Christian refugees who have fled from Mosul and other cities to the capital city of Kurdistan are in desperate need of fresh drinking water, as well as other basic supplies.
They are also desperate for safe housing. Churches and schools in Erbil and surrounding cities have opened their doors to many of the refugees. But they are running out of room. One church reported 140 people lodged in the halls. Many now are sleeping on mattresses in the dirt or grass outside of the churches.
One of the greatest crises of our generation is the growing number of Christian refugees, as well as members of other faiths, in Iraq and Syria. Men, women and children have been forced to flee their homes because of escalating, horrific violence by the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) just because they are Christians. Thousands of people of all faiths face the threat of forced conversion to Islam or death.
Today the United Nations declared its highest level of emergency in Iraq as a humanitarian crisis due to the death and destruction carried out by IS terrorists. The U.N. estimates 1.2 million people have been internally displaced.
Open Doors, working with churches and other partners in northern Iraq, has responded rapidly as Christians in not only Mosul, but many other cities, have fled the intense persecution. Mosul now has been cleansed of almost all Christians. Most Christians left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Open Doors is providing food, water, medicine, pillows, blankets, air coolers, cooking and eating utensils and hygiene kits.
“Open Doors is helping to support over 2,000 families spread over 21 villages in northern Iraq,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. David Curry. “What is unfolding is the worst genocide since Rwanda 20 years ago. We can not allow this to happen on our watch. Please pray, spread the word in your church or small group, advocate and give so Open Doors can provide more humanitarian aid in the weeks and months ahead.”
For more information on the crisis in Iraq and Syria and to donate, go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org or a direct link is https://secure2.convio.net/ccod/site/Donation2?df_id=6900&6900.donation=form1&_ga=1.51779361.981393229.1378412015.
Iraq is ranked No. 4 out of 50 countries on the Open Doors 2014 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. The Open Doors ministry in Iraq over the last decade has included trauma support, biblical training, distribution of Bibles and Christian literature, community development projects and working with displaced people.
Kenya: Christians Facing Door to Door Killing
Kenya has been struggling to address security issues, especially in coastal, northern and eastern regions of the country. The separatist group Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) has created enough problems for the country. MRC has been accused of the killing of civilians and security forces.
Also, the Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab in September 2013 attacked the Westgate Mall, killing at least 67 people and leaving more than 175 people wounded.
According to a report, attacks by al-Shabaab continued last month. According to the report, “at least 29 were killed on July 5 in Hindi, Lamu county and Gambi, Tana River county; seven killed and eight injured on July 18 in Witu town, Lamu county and four killed on July 20 in Mombasa.” Yet, for Christians, the door to door killing that occurred in June 2014 to which al-Shabaab claimed responsibility indicates an increased level of danger.
On June 16, militants attacked Mpeketon village and killed more than 40 people. Around 30 militants arrived in the village with the purpose of shooting any man or woman who they thought was not Muslim. According to witnesses, the militants went door to door and asked residents whether they were Muslim or not. The militants killed around 48 people who said they are Christians. There have been killings and conflicts in Kenya for some time. But, most of the killings were generally indiscriminate. But, not this time. The militants came to the village with a clear intent of killing Christians.
In a nutshell, in Kenya, Christians living around the coastal and eastern region bordering Somalia are facing extreme challenges. They live under constant fear and threat. The government security forces are not in a position to protect these vulnerable people. These acts by extremists should not be taken lightly.
These killings send out a clear message that the perpetrators are still at large and since the “killing/persecuting of Christians goes unpunished, it is okay.” Thus, it is imperative that the Kenyan government step up and protect Christians living in those areas vulnerable to extremist attacks.