Saturday, September 1, 2012

Christians in Iraq facing discrimination and violent crime

Many Christians in Iraq are at risk.
These two young men have been harassed and threatened
for their gospel work with Kurdish refugees.
Click here to watch a video with their powerful testimony.
Iraqi Christians have requested our prayers as they continue to be disproportionately affected by violent crime in some parts of the country, reports Middle East Concern.

In late July, a Christian man was kidnapped in Baghdad and a high ransom demanded for his release. His family and friends negotiated for his release and sold some property to raise the ransom. Regretfully, the victim was killed anyway. Kidnappings are not uncommon in Iraq, especially in minority communities.

While the victim in this case was a Christian, the principal motivation for the attack was economic rather than religious. However, Christians in Iraq continue to be soft targets for violence, as a minority community with limited ability to retaliate. They are sometimes perceived as having contacts outside Iraq who can help them meet ransom demands.

A further matter of concern in Iraq relates to a new law proposed in the autonomous Kurdish area of northern Iraq. On May 11, the Kurdistan Parliament's Committee for Religious Endowments and Religious Affairs announced its completion of a draft Law to "protect sanctities."

If enacted, this law would be used against anyone who is deemed to defame religion. The draft law does not specifically protect Islam over Christianity or other recognised religions. However, based on the precedent of religious defamation cases elsewhere, Christians in northern Iraq fear that, in practice, the new law would be used primarily to bring sanctions against those whose words or actions are construed as anti-Islamic. The Parliament has not yet set a date for the vote to enact the new legislation.

Please pray.
  • Pray that those kidnapped will be freed unharmed, and ransom demands will be dropped.
  • Pray that Christians throughout Iraq will know the Lord's constant protection and daily guidance.
  • Pray that the draft blasphemy law will be rejected.
  • Pray that the perpetrators of violent crime in Iraq will know the Spirit's conviction of guilt and hear about and respond to the Father's offer of forgiveness and life.
For more information about Iraq’s persecuted Church, please visit our Iraq Country Report.

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