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Iraq: Believers Warned to Leave

Christians in Iraq have been warned by Muslim extremists to leave the country immediately or risk violent death, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.

An Iraqi bishop received a letter from the General Secretariat of the Islam Supporters warning Christians in Baghdad and other areas to “leave the country of Muslims (Iraq) for good and immediately in the form of mass transmigration.” “You can follow Pope Benedict XVI and his followers who have disfigured humanity and Islam,” the letter said. “There’s no more room for you, infidels, among the Iraqi Muslims. Our swords shall be placed upon your necks and the necks of your followers and other Christians residing in Mosul.”

Despite the threats, Christians in Iraq remain strong in their faith. “We thank God for his protection during this difficult time the country is passing through,” a VOM contact said. “Despite the threat that Christians face daily in Iraq, we are feeling God’s protective hands surrounding us every minute.”

This incident is the latest in a series of threats and attacks on Iraqi Christians in recent years. In October 2008, at least seven Christians were killed and more than 200 families displaced. Since 2003, Christian leaders, churches and businesses in Iraq have been targeted by Muslim extremists. As a result, many believers have fled. The Christian community in Iraq is estimated to be 3 percent of the country’s population of 26 million, or about 800,000 people.

Political chaos extends throughout the country, starting in Baghdad and extending to other major cities, VOM contacts said. “Moreover, it’s not safe for people to wander in streets, especially for the Christians who are constantly being threatened. Many times we cannot reach our offices or do not go to church because a bomb might be waiting for us there.”
The Voice of the Martyrs continues to support believers in Iraq and encourages you to pray for persecuted Iraqi Christians. Pray that the Lord will protect our brothers and sisters in Iraq, and ask God to give them the grace to forgive their persecutors.

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