SANTA ANA, Calif. (Nov. 8, 2010) – All Christians in the Middle East are now “legitimate targets.”
That warning from al Qaeda in Iraq was issued on Wednesday coming in the aftermath of the Oct. 31 massacre of 64 people, mostly Christian worshippers, in Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad. The attack by Islamic extremists was the most deadly one against the country’s minority Christians since they came under more scrutiny in 2003.
The Islamic State of Iraq, which claimed responsibility for the Baghdad massacre, said on militant websites that “we will open upon them (Christians) the doors of destruction and rivers of blood.”
Open Doors, an international Christian ministry that supports and strengthens persecuted believers, is calling on Christians to pray for the dwindling Iraqi community and the more than 100 million suffering Christians throughout the world during the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) on Sunday, Nov. 14.
During that day churches in the United States will join churches around the world to focus on prayer and support for our brothers and sisters enduring persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. IDOP is one of the largest prayer events in the world. Last year an estimated half million churches in more than 100 countries participated in IDOP.
“The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church presents a tremendous opportunity for millions of people to make a difference in the lives of those being persecuted for their faith in countries such as North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and many more,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. “Right now the Christians in Iraq desperately need our prayers after the horrific massacre of Christians Oct. 31. The families of the victims are still in shock as they bury their loved ones. They see little hope for their future in Iraq.
“Please join me in prayer this Sunday on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Those suffering for Christ in Iraq and other restricted countries are crying out for our prayers.”
The top 10 persecutors on the Open Doors World Watch List 2010 include North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mauritania, Laos and Uzbekistan. Iraq is No. 17 on the list.
To set up an interview with Carl Moeller, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email [email protected].
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
In 2020, pledge to pray weekly for Christians who share your faith but not your freedom.