There has been a mass exodus of hundreds of Christian families from the Iraqi city of Mosul since the early morning of June 10. Many Christians have fled to the relatively safe “Kurdish” region or the Christian Nineveh district in the country with only what they could carry.
They fled the city after gunmen of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), in Iraq known as Daash, a jihadist militant group, managed to take control of major parts of Mosul, the second largest city of Iraq on June 9.
The representative of Open Doors in Iraq says that some 200 families sought shelter in the monastery of Mar Mattai, and another 50 families in a monastery in Alqosh. Several schools in mainly Christian villages also opened their doors to shelter the Christian families. “When [the exodus from Mosel] goes on like this, Mosul soon will be emptied of Christians,” the spokesman says. Even before the June 10 mass flight, only an estimated 1000 Christian families still lived in Mosul.
For several hours on the night of June 10, militants even managed to take control of the Governor’s building in the center of Mosul. According to IraqiNews.com, the Governor of Nineveh has left the province. Christians are not the only ones on the run; many others are also fleeing the violence. The National news agency NINA in Iraq reports on the displacement of “thousands of families.”
Daash already controls several places in Iraq, and lately, their gunmen are nearing the borders of the Kurdish region in Iraq, which has been a relatively safe refuge from the violence in the rest of Iraq for many Christians during the last decade. These militants are especially feared because they do not hesitate to kill people from minority groups.
According to the Open Doors’ representative in Iraq, “the situation in and around Mosul is becoming dramatically worse, and we are now facing another serious migration of Christians.” Members of the jihadist group now control wide areas throughout the province of Nineveh. ISIS has already taken control of sections of Mosul on both sides of the Tigris River.
Father, the enemy Satan is clearly active in Iraq and in the city of Mosul where extremists have taken control of the city. We pray for the small handful of Christians who remain; that You will strengthen and protect them, and grant them wisdom and opportunity to reflect the light of Christ in this increasingly dark place. Encourage and empower the government to bring order and peace. And we pray for those who have fled, who have left homes, families and material goods. Thank You for the compassion of many to provide food and shelter. Ultimately, this world is not their home; encourage them with a vision of the glory set before them; of the place You are even now preparing for them in heaven. In the name of Jesus, who is coming again, Amen.