Seven Christians have been killed in Mosul, Iraq, so far this month, The Associated Press (AP) reported. “We are worried about the campaign of killings and deportations against Christian citizens in Mosul. Such violations are damaging the national unity,” Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako told AP. “The Christians want only to live in peace and harmony and to work together with all Iraqis for the benefit of Iraq,” he added.
On Oct. 4 an armed group of suspected Islamist extremists assassinated a man named Hazim Thomaso Youssif in front of his clothing shop, and Ivan Nuwya was shot to death in front of his home, located near a mosque in the Christian-majority neighborhood of Tahrir. Meanwhile on Oct. 6, a disabled 25-year-old shopkeeper was shot and killed in the neighborhood of Karama. Four other Christians, a pharmacy employee, a disabled man who owns a spare-parts store, and two day-laborers have also been killed.
The Christian community in Iraq is estimated to be 3 percent of Iraq’s 26 million people, or about 800,000. Archbishop Sako is based in the northern city of Kirkuk and has overseen believers in Mosul since the killing of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho. Archbishop Rahho was kidnapped and killed by gunmen in March following Mass. His body was found dumped on the streets.
Some Christians believe that Muslim extremists are targeting shopkeepers in an effort to wipe out the Christian community’s economic activity and drive out believers from the area. Since 2003, Christian leaders, churches and businesses in Iraq have been targeted by Islamic extremists. As a result, many believers have fled.
The Voice of the Martyrs actively supports Christians in Iraq with Action Packs, material resources for Christian leaders and evangelistic literature. VOM distributes the New Testament in Arabic and also supports widows through the Families of Martyrs fund.
VOM encourages you to pray for those who mourn these lost lives. Ask God to continue to embolden the Christian community in Mosul to proclaim the gospel even while suffering. Pray for God’s protection for Christians living under difficult circumstances.