Thursday, February 25, 2010

Iraqi Christians killed in Mosul

Last week we requested prayer for Iraqi Christians in the city of Mosul and surrounding areas. Recall that several had been murdered and at least three kidnapped.

We regret to report that further murders have occurred, including at least one of those kidnapped on 16th February. On Tuesday 23rd February a Christian man and his two adult sons were shot dead by gunmen who forced their way into the family home. His wife and daughter witnessed the murders. This incident brings the number of Christians known to have been killed in Mosul in the past two weeks to nine.

Many Christian families are now leaving Mosul, with one report quoting the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul stating that "hundreds" left on Wednesday (24th). Most are moving to the "Nineveh Plains", the area north and east of Mosul. Many of the villages in this area have a significant presence of Christians who can assist those fleeing Mosul. Some have moved to areas with Christian communities within the nearby region controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq. The KRG-controlled areas are, in general, less volatile than Mosul.

There is no news of the Christian man abducted on 13th February and whose family had received a large ransom demand.

This violence is part of a general flare up of sectarian tension in the run up to the parliamentary election scheduled for 7th March. There has also been an increase in attacks on other religious communities.

In October 2008, in the run up to municipal elections in January 2009, at least 15 Christians were killed in Mosul and an estimated 1,600 Christian families fled, though some subsequently returned.

Iraqi Christians supporting these believers request our prayers that:
a.  The bereaved will know the Lord's comfort and presence
b.  The wounded and traumatised will know the Lord's healing and peace
c.  The authorities would do all they can to improve security for all citizens of Mosul, and to promote multi-religious tolerance
d.  Those who have relocated will find places of safety to live, quickly adjust to their new surroundings and find employment in order to support their families
e.  The election process will lead to greater stability and a reduction in violence across the country in general and in Mosul in particular
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