Friday, November 05, 2004

urgent matter: we must take action

this is an urgent matter, and we must take action: please read the article and spread to as many people as possible...if you have any connections to the media I would appreciate your help.


Nancy B.


Fri, 5 Nov 2004 12:11:25 -0600 (CST)





AINA: Barnabus Fund Issues Urgent Appeal on Behalf of Iraq's Assyrians

Barnabus Fund Issues Urgent Appeal on Behalf of Iraq's Assyrians

11-5-2004, 10:50:18

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(AINA) -- The Barnabus Fund, an organization that assists persecuted

Christian minorities by prayer and practical support, has issued an

urgent appeal

( on

behalf of the Christians of Iraq:

The Christian community in northern Iraq is facing ever mounting

intimidation and violence. Since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of

Ramadan (15th October) the situation has escalated, with the apparent

aim of forcing the Christians out of their homeland. Tens of thousands

are fleeing. International media reported the first incident, when

explosions occurred at five churches in Baghdad just after 4.00 a.m. on

Saturday 16th October (2nd Ramadan). But the other threats and attacks on

Christians go largely unreported. Photographs of three senior bishops in

Mosul are being circulated around, with the message that they are

agents of the USA, infidels, and action must be taken against them. The

church leaders serving the Christian community of Karakush, Mosul, have

received two letters from the Islamic militants. The first ordered them to

allow Christian women to marry Muslim men (which in Muslim eyes means

the women effectively convert to Islam). This, said the letter, would

enable the women to be "blessed" and "purified" by their marriages.

The second letter to church leaders, received yesterday 2nd November,

announced the militants' intention of killing one person in every

Christian family, as a punishment for the women not covering their heads and

not going to university. This follows up pressure and threats from

Islamic extremists against all women in Mosul, requiring them to cover

their head with the hijab (Islamic headscarf). A Christian woman was killed

around 26th October for having her head uncovered. Two other Christian

women who were seen bareheaded in a market had nitric acid squirted in

their faces. Specific threats about the clothing of female students at

Mosul University have so frightened the Christians that an estimated

1,500 Christian women have stopped attending their classes.

Islamic militants are knocking on the doors of Christian homes in

Mosul, demanding money. They argue that since the Christians do not

contribute weapons and do not fight, they must make a financial donation

instead. This follows exactly the model of classical Islam, whereby

Christians and Jews were excluded from fighting for the Islamic state but

instead required to pay a special tax ? jizya ? to cover the costs of their


Leaflets are being distributed with the message: "Christians go; leave

Iraq." Word is being passed around in the mosques, telling Muslims not

to buy anything from the Christians. Not only are they infidels, it is

said, but also they will soon be leaving, so the Muslims will be able

to take their homes and property for free. PRAY

* In this grave situation, the Christians in Iraq beg for the

prayers of their Christian brothers and sisters elsewhere. Ask the Lord to

protect them from those who would harm them, and to fill their hearts

with faith and hope.

* Please also write to your MP (or other local political

representative) asking them to raise the suffering of Christians in Iraq as a

matter of utmost urgency with the Foreign Secretary (or equivalent in your

country) and call for their immediate intervention to protect Iraqi

Christians. Please also write to the US embassy in your country urging a

similar course of action.

* Barnabas Fund will shortly be sending out a lobbying request

through its Rapid Lobbying Network with further information about writing

to MPs and others. Please contact Barnabas Fund if you would like to

receive this.

The Barnabas Fund

The Old Rectory

River Street, PEWSEY

Wiltshire, SN9 5DB


Tel 01672 564938, Fax 01672 565030


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