In Iraq Some Christian Children Simply “Dont Exist”
Pastor Majeed has been a Christian for more than a dozen years but his ID-card says he is a Muslim. Majeed, his wife Shilaan, and their children are struggling in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq because a law exists that requires the children of those registered as Muslims also be registered as Muslim; and since they are Christians this poses a problem.
As Christians they would like to change their identity cards, but it is extremely difficult to get the religious designation on an ID-card changed. When their first child was born Majeed and Shilaan chose to take the bold step of registering their infant son Jeener as a Christian. Multiple attempts through the court system have all ended in firm denials. Now five years old, Jeneer remains unregistered, as does his ten-month-old brother. According to the government, they simply do not exist. That means they cannot receive medical treatment or education. For now, Janeer is allowed to attend kindergarten, but when he turns 7, and it is time for him to enroll in primary school, he will be denied that opportunity.
In addition, because they are Christian, Majeed and his family are severely restricted in other activities. This includes being denied the opportunity to move into one of the predominantly Christian villages around the city. The couple is currently focused on two final options. One is to appeal through former U.S. President Jimmy Carter who Majeed expects to be visiting Iraq soon. Another possibility is an official appeal to the International Court of Justice.
Father, as we read about the situation of this young family, we pray for them, specifically that You will prevail in the legal process so they can be “officially” known as Christians in their community. And we pray for others who are in a similar circumstance, that they too will have these legal obstacles removed. Lord Jesus, we pray also for little Janeer to be able to go to school, just like other boys his age, and that he will be surrounded by many Christian friends. Amen