Thursday, June 19, 2014

Iraqi Christians fleeing homes: we're not going back

At on June 16, 2014, DIAA HADID, Associated Press, reports from ALQOSH, Iraq that over the past decade, Iraqi Christians have repeatedly fled to this ancient mountainside village seeking refuge from violence, then returning home when danger passed. As they are doing so again in response to the ISIS militant offensive, many say they will never return to their homes.

Hadid reports that "at least half of the country's Christian population has fled the country to escape attacks by Sunni Muslim militants who target them and their churches."

As they flee, the Christians are emptying out communities that date back to the first centuries of the religion. Iraq was estimated to have more than 1 million Christians before the 2003 invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein. Now less than half that remain.

Hadid reports that many Christians are deciding that the comparatively prosperous Kurdish regions are their safest haven. "Every Christian prefers to stay in Kurdistan," said Abu Zeid, an engineer. "It's a shame because Mosul is the most important city in Iraq for Christians," he added. Mosul is said to be the burial place of the biblical prophet Jonah, who preached repentance to the people of Nineveh.


Jeremiah the prophet called on the people of God to flee from the violence in the land of Chaldea: "Flee from the midst of Babylon, and each of you save his life! Do not be destroyed in her punishment, for this is the LORD's time of vengeance... Come forth from her midst, My people, and each of you save yourselves from the fierce anger of the LORD... You who have escaped the sword, Depart! Do not stay!... The sound of an outcry from Babylon, and of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans! For the LORD is going to destroy Babylon... " (Jer 51:6,45,50,54).



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