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Region: Iraq, Syria

“Convert, pay a tax, leave or die.”
The self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) became infamous when it invaded the city of Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014. Mosul, which is the ancient biblical city of Nineveh, has been home to Christians for almost 2,000 years.

Members of ISIS went door to door identifying homes of Christians and spray-painting a red Arabic “N” on their houses. The “N” stands for Nasara, a term used in the Koran to identify Christians – followers of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Christians in Mosul were given an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay an exorbitant tax called the jizya, flee Mosul, leaving their homes and property behind, or be killed. While nearly all Christians chose to leave, some, such as those unable to travel, were killed.

The Islamic State is proud of its exploits. Beatings, beheadings, crucifixions and other forms of merciless execution of Christians and others are all conducted with cameras rolling. Children are taught to hate all that is not Islam and even carry out executions themselves.

While it would be easy for Christians facing this kind of terror to become fearful or to despair, many of those who were driven from their homes say it has caused them to grow stronger in their faith. After losing all their worldly possessions, many have discovered Christ in new ways – ways that bring them great joy amid persecution.

While the eyes of the world watch and judge from a temporal perspective, our Christian brothers and sisters view ISIS from the perspective of faith and eternity.

Plague of Destruction
This video shows the destruction left when ISIS moves into a town. Everything is destroyed and nothing is left.

Please Pray

  • Pray that more ISIS fighters, and even ISIS leaders, will have a divine encounter with Christ or one of His followers and come to a saving faith.
  • Pray for the tens of thousands of Christians who have been displaced from areas now controlled by ISIS. Pray that God will meet their physical needs, and pray that their relationship with Christ will grow through this trial.
  • Pray for VOM as we seek to meet both physical and spiritual needs in areas controlled or affected by ISIS. Pray for our wisdom and for God’s protection of our staff and co-workers in the region.

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