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Christians everywhere “legitimate targets” – Al-Qaeda

Project(s): 00-345

Country/Region: Iraq, Egypt, Middle East and North Africa

Barnabas calls for prayer and political intervention

Barnabas Aid is calling for urgent prayer and political intervention after Al-Qaeda said Christians everywhere are "legitimate targets" following the bloody siege at a Baghdad church on Sunday.

iraq-church-nov-104X3.jpg
A door to the Baghdad church
riddled with bullet holes

The Islamic State of Iraq, an Al-Qaeda front group, claimed responsibility for the attack that left 58 people dead and, in a statement on Tuesday, said that the "killing sword will not be lifted".

The threat was extended to "all Christian centres, organisations and institutions, leaders and followers" when a 48-hour deadline expired for the release of Muslim women the group falsely claims that the Egyptian Church is holding captive.

This was one of the demands made by the armed militants who took around 100 worshippers hostage during an evening service at the church in Baghdad on Sunday (31 October). They also demanded the release of Al-Qaeda prisoners held in Iraq. Dozens of Christians, as well as security forces and attackers, died in the ensuing fighting, with scores more wounded. Among the victims were Raghada al-Wafi, who was pregnant, and Thar Abdallah, the church minister who had conducted her wedding ceremony.

Heightened fears

The latest Al-Qaeda threat has heightened fears for Iraq's beleaguered Christian community, as well as the Egyptian Church (press release 25 Oct - Egyptian Christians threatened with a “bloodbath” by Islamists) and believers across the Middle East. A senior Iraqi church leader said yesterday that it could force Christians to leave the country.

Sunday's siege was the deadliest recorded attack against Iraq's Christians, who have endured repeated violence since the US-led invasion in 2003. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee as a result of the attacks, their numbers falling from 1.5 million in 1990 to perhaps as low as 400,000 today.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, said:

Christians across the Middle East region are now in a highly perilous situation. We must fervently pray for their safety and also exert pressure on international governments to protect their Christian citizens.

Please write to your elected representative and ask them to raise this as a matter of urgency with the relevant government department (for UK readers please ask your MP to raise it with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office).

Give Today:

If you would like to donate to help our Christian brothers and sisters who suffer brutal treatment because of their faith please send your donation to project 00-345 (Victims of Violence). Please click to donate online using our secure server.

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence).

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence).

For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/345 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).

Please Pray:
  • That there will be no further violence in Iraq following Sunday's attack and subsequent co-ordinated bombings of Shiite districts.
  • That Al-Qaeda's threats will not be carried out and that Christians across the Middle East will be kept safe.
  • That governments will step in to protect their Christian citizens and take swift action against perpetrators of violence.
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Christians everywhere “legitimate targets” – Al-Qaeda

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    • “It is not typical for a man to show or talk about his weaknesses and admit them. These days the fear and pressure from the authorities and the Muslim world reveal the condition of my heart.” A Christian leader in Central Asia shared frankly in a letter the way in which the constant pressure he faced was wearing him down. He wrote how, having finally recognised his fears and defeats, he had then received encouragement from the Lord through the words of 2 Corinthians 1:1-10. Pray for our brother “M.T.” and the countless other Christians around the world living with ongoing opposition that the Father of compassion and God of all comfort will draw close and comfort them in all their troubles. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 12 hours ago

    • Thank the Lord that, with the help of Barnabas Aid, two house churches in a strict Central Asian country were able to purchase coal-powered generators. Winters there are harsh, and the power supply can Barnabas is helping 30,000 displaced Iraqi Christians be erratic. This particular congregation used to meet in a church building, but in 2009 their permit to assemble was revoked and seven of their members were questioned at the police station. Since then the church has had to meet in members’ homes. Pray that the Lord will continue to bless their ministry and that the generators will allow the church to continue to expand despite opposition from the government. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Nov 2014 00:00

    • An Uzbek Christian who had converted from Islam died earlier this year and was buried. The local Muslim leaders banned any Muslim from attending the man’s funeral. But one of his work colleagues, a radical Muslim who had been struck by the Christian’s words and way of life, attended the funeral anyway, ignoring all the threats and warnings. She was puzzled by such a hostile reaction to a man she knew to be “God-fearing”. At the funeral she heard the Gospel and decided to give her life to Christ. Pray for “F.” as she is now being disciple and growing in her new faith, that she will be strong in the face of opposition from the Muslim community. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Nov 2014 00:00

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    • Give thanks to the Lord that, through the generosity of Barnabas Aid supporters, over 30,000 displaced Christians in northern Iraq are being assisted through four local partner organisations on the ground. By funding the distribution of food, blankets, hygiene items and other basic needs, Barnabas has enabled them to survive their first months of displacement. But their needs will be greater now, as the Iraqi winter has set in. Pray that God will provide. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Nov 2014 00:00

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