IRAQ: Five Years after IS Occupied Mosul, Returnees Live in Fear

The Islamic State’s three-year occupation of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and its surrounding villages ended nearly two years ago. Yet the city and its diminished number of Christian residents remain vulnerable.

Last month the Iraqi government announced it would arm residents of 50 villages around Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, so they could protect themselves against pockets of IS fighters that continue to be active in the country.

They appear to have adopted a ‘hit-and-run’ approach, attacking local targets like a market in Kirkuk, 184km south-east of Mosul, with the aim to undermine the government in Baghdad. IS has also claimed responsibility for some of the fires that in recent weeks torched hundreds of acres of land in northern Iraq, destroying crops on land that the attackers say is “owned by infidels”.

Sectarian tensions that predate the IS occupation have also raised their heads again. Iranian-backed militias, known as Popular Mobilisation Forces, patrol the streets and sometimes control whole towns.

The lack of security and stability makes Christians hesitate to return to their homes and communities.

Since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the number of Christians in Iraq — between 1.4 million and 2 million — has decreased. Estimates of the Christians left in Iraq range from 200,000 to 250,000.

“Christianity in Iraq, one of the oldest churches, if not the oldest church in the world, is perilously close to extinction,” the Rt Rev Bashar Warda told Christian leaders during a visit to the United Kingdom last month.  After 1,400 years of persecution, Iraq’s Christians may have come to the end of the road, he said.

Christians who decide to return face many challenges. Houses and infrastructure have been destroyed and there is the constant fear of possible attacks from the IS cells or sectarian militias.

Sources: World Watch Monitor, National Catholic Register

  • Ask the Lord to strengthen the local Christian community. Pray they will band together in love for one another. Ask Him to take away their fear and provide for them abundantly.
  • Ask God to provide His protection to all who have returned. Pray those in authority will take every opportunity to safeguard against violence.
  • Pray for the remining IS militants. Ask the Lord to bring about a change in them, to remove hatred and evil from their hearts and give them a new Spirit.

Post your prayer for Mosul in the comments below.

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2 Responses to IRAQ: Five Years after IS Occupied Mosul, Returnees Live in Fear

  1. Diane Krall 20 June 2019 at 12:47 am #

    Have mercy on Iraq, Jehovah. Send the messengers of the Gospel back to those who hate you and follow a false religion. Give your followers what you have promised: everything needed for life and godliness. Give your church love for their enemies and power to do good to those who persecute them. That the world may know that YOU are the living and true GOD.

  2. Gemma 22 June 2019 at 11:58 am #

    Please God be with them. Protect them and shield them. Lord help the children, protect the children, bless the children. Protect the women, protect their honour, don’t let them hate themselves and show them they are beautiful. Be with the men, give them strength and tenderness, protect the men, help them heal. God please let them know they are not useless. Jesus show them they are not despised. Holy Spirit bind us to them so we can be strength for them and them courage and shining stars of faith for us. Amen

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