This is Salim, an Iraqi Christian from Qaraqosh. He speaks with fondness and nostalgia about his old home: “If you could have seen Qaraqosh before the war, it was amazing. I wish you had been there.” ISIS tried to capture the city in July 2014 but were pushed back by a small band of Christian and Kurdish fighters. Their courageous defence of the city allowed the women, children and elderly to escape. The jihadists later cut the water supply, causing thousands to flee. When they finally seized control, Salim tells us that ISIS destroyed the churches and dug tunnels all over the city.
The charred and desecrated remains of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh
Our team in northern Iraq visited Qaraqosh earlier this year and found a ghost town. The jihadists had tried to erase all evidence of Christianity. At the Church of the Immaculate Conception, once Iraq’s largest church, they piled the pews and bibles up and burned them. They daubed the walls with the black flag of Islamic State and used the courtyard as a shooting range, evidence of which was clear to see.
Dr Sarah Ahmed, our Director of Operations in the Middle East, stands in the bullet-strewn courtyard of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh
Salim’s son, Revan, left for Jordan six months before ISIS came. War-torn Iraq had little to offer an aspiring musician. He now volunteers for us at the Assemblies of God Church in Madaba (a city south of Amman), distributing food to the refugees there. We are feeding Salim and Revan every month, along with 1,100 other Iraqi refugee families. With your support, we would like to give them a little more this Christmas. Please make a donation to our cause (giving options are at the bottom of this newsletter).
Revan has become a key member of our food distribution team in Jordan
Thank you to our supporters who participated in #RedWednesday this week. Christians are the most persecuted faith group in the world today. In Iraq, many have been killed for their peacefully held beliefs. To honour them, Christians the world over wore red, the colour of martyrs. Even the UK Parliament marked the occasion.
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