Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rape, death and destruction - as the world looks on

Christians in Iraq are in desperate need. Christians have been crucified. Christian children have been beheaded and their bodies cut in half. ISIS, now calling themselves the Islamic State, have seized vast swathes of land in northern Iraq and forced their brutal rule on all and sundry.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled. Most have been robbed of all their possessions and left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They are homeless, helpless and starving - and facing a cold winter. They are threatened with genocide and extinction.

Hundreds of Christian, Yazidi and Turkmen women are held in Badush Prison in Mosul. The women are raped daily unless they agree to convert to Islam. The UN estimates that there have been roughly 1,500 Iraqi women and children abducted from the Christian and Yazidi communities and forced into sexual slavery.

Said one Iraqi Christian woman: "I wouldn't wish my experiences in Mosul on any human being on earth. They threatened us with death. They forced us to pay jizya - knowing that we can't. For years we have lived close to poverty. In our emergency we Christians looked for help everywhere, but they didn't help us. I plead to the international community, to churches, to human rights organisations, to the UN - to all who promote peaceful living together, to help us."

Politicians have expressed their sympathy, but done nothing effective. They want to bomb ISIS from the air. But what about the Christians?

Says Patrick Sookhdeo: "The real problem is that the Christians have no power, and because of this they are deemed irrelevant. They have no weapons, therefore they are deemed to be no threat. They have no oil, so they have no economic weight. For some politicians it seems better that Christians should leave the Middle East, for then at least they would not be a complication to the situation."

The response from the churches has been negligible.

Are you a Christian? These are our brothers and sisters in Christ. This week, October 26 to November 2,  is Barnabas Fund's Suffering Church Action Week. Will you pray?

You can contact your MP, urging him or her to put pressure on the Government to act. You can sign a petition here.

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