Yesterday’s World View Wednesday at CatholicMom.com highlighted a project a dear friend started recently:
Beginning after the war in Iraq, Christians have had a difficult time continuing to live in their ancient homeland. Radical Islamists have been persecuting them and pushing them out of their villages, often through terrorism — bombing churches, threatening those Christians who have refused to abandon their homeland. As American troops have left the area, the region has become destabilized, and left a weak military force to deal with the rise of ISIS, or the Islamic State. ISIS has declared a caliphate, and has been giving Christians a choice: convert, pay a fine, or die. No amount of money they hand over is enough, though, and Christians are fleeing the area. A USA Today article from July 29 tells us:
“When we left in the middle of the night, we were stripped of everything. Money, wallets, jewelry, ID, passports, watches, everything,” Raad Ghanem said. “At the Daesh checkpoint on the way out of the city, my wife was even stripped of her earrings. They took everything of value we had.”
“They changed our church into a mosque, ruined historic museums and destroyed a monastery and manuscripts that were 1,000 years old. Iraq is gone. Iraq is finished. We’re finished. It’s impossible for us to go back,” he said.
“I want to be a Christian but IS (Islamic State) took us to the mosque and tried to convert us to Islam,” said Flora Adwa, a mother of three.
She said the owner of the townhouse had allowed the two families to temporarily stay at the home.
“We gave them all our money, but then they took our car and our house,” she explained. “They told us that with the money we gave them we could go anywhere but Mosul. We cannot return. We are finished. What is our future?”
Aside from prayer, what can we do to help them? My friend Harold Koenig has started a venture to raise awareness of the plight of our brethren in the Middle East, as well as to raise funds to assist them. His group has a new webpage called Help Nasara, a name chosen in solidarity with those Christians whose homes were marked by the Arabic letter nun (ن), which stands for “Nazarene,” used as a kind of slur against Christians.
Head over to CatholicMom.com to learn more.