The Future of Iraqi Christians after the Handover of Sovereignty

( [email protected] ) Jul 02, 2004 11:15 PM EDT

LONDON - The handover of sovereignty of Iraq has been in the spotlight of the world during the week. Just days ago, on Monday June 28, Iraq was handed over to the interim government by the American-led coalition. The world is now hoping for a more peaceful and stable Iraq.

Regarding the transfer of power, a temporary constitution has been set up, and Islam is viewed as "the Official Religion of the State." However, much trouble has engulfed the region in the build-up to the handover, including recent bombings, kidnappings of foreign hostages, and threats made to assassinate Iraq's interim prime minister and fight the West "until Islamic rule is back on Earth."

The minority Christians in Iraq have been living in fear and uncertainty about the future; though they put their trust in the Lord, all the violent acts going on around them are bound to make them feel anxious.

Jerry Dykstra of Open Doors reported that all the training seminars have been postponed because of the increased violence in certain areas, but they are still sending in literature. However, on the bright side, a Christian center in Baghdad has been opened up and further plans are being made for other such things as well. But it will all depend on the political climate in the next few weeks.

Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors, has expressed his deep concern that Muslim fundamentalists are pushing for an Islamic state; and hard-line clerics want Shariah law imposed on the country.

"Under this law, the rights of Christians will be severely restricted. And the future will be even more dangerous and uncertain for believers in Iraq. Already life is tense and unsafe for Iraqi Christians--and many face persecution." Brother Andrew said.

Open Doors call upon all Christians to support the brothers and sisters who are suffering at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. Especially prayer has been requested for the violence to come to an end and for the transition of power to be smooth; prayer for Iraqi Christians and other Christians working and serving in Iraq to be kept safe; and prayer that Christians will be allowed to worship the Lord in freedom under the new government.

Open Doors has been working to help strengthen Christians in Iraq well before the present troubles, since 1991. It first started with prayers, now it has developed to provide Children's Bibles, and set up badly needed Sunday schools so that vulnerable children can learn about God's love. And since the last war, it has provided for widows and orphans in many other practical ways.