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Ramadan Sparks New Levels of Violence Against Christians

September 11, 2013 by Open Doors in General

Ramadan Sparks New Levels of Violence Against Christians

Recent months have seen incidents of sectarian violence in Iraq surge to their highest level since 2008. More than 800 people were killed in August alone, with Baghdad province the worst affected.

Christians in Iraq need our prayers as they face increasing violence. In July, Salem Dawood Coca, a 63-year-old Christian truck driver, was kidnapped and killed. Salem’s truck was rigged with explosives – an indication, say police experts, that he was killed after he refused to perform a suicide bombing.

The hope of Christians in Iraq is fading away,” says a fieldworker. “With our work we are able to bring a spark of hope, but the situation is bad and it keeps getting worse.”

A Christian mother living in Mosul with her husband and two children said, “Mosul was in a very bad situation during Ramadan. There are more bombs and more threats towards Christians. They send threatening messages to our mobile phones and throw threat letters into our houses. There is more fear.” Fear is mounting throughout Iraq that a new civil war is on the horizon. Many Christian families in Baghdad have been forced to stay indoors because the situation on the street is so dangerous.

Earlier this summer, an attack on St. Mary Assyrian Church in Baghdad left two guards injured and church members full of fear. In the same month, two people were killed when a Christian shop in Baghdad was attacked, and the head of a Christian village in the northern Dohuk region was severely injuring in a violent assault.

An Open Doors fieldworker has urged us not to forget our brothers and sisters in Iraq, emphasizing that they need our prayers and encouragement. “Let us pray for angels to watch over their homes, their cars, the doors of their homes, their churches and schools.”

Father, we pray for the many Christians in Iraq who are weary and fearful after years of sectarian violence aimed at them. We pray that families who have suffered loss will be comforted and receive support and encouragement from fellow Christians. We pray for an end to the violence, that Muslims, Sunni and Shiite, and Christians might live peacefully together, and that the gospel message of forgiveness and restoration might draw many to faith in Christ. We pray for the effectiveness of the Open Doors program in Iraq that provides Bibles and literacy materials, trains church leaders and establishes income generating projects. Use this effort, Lord, to encourage God’s people in the faith, equip them to reach out to those around them, and provide for their material needs. In the name of Jesus, our strength in time of trouble, Amen.

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