They bombed the churches and dug tunnels all over the city

 

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.

Please make a donation

If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Thank you for your support!

The FRRME Team

Weekly Media Summary 17 November 2017

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s media summary includes news reports about Iraqi spies infiltrating Isis and a first of its kind refugee newspaper in Zaatari camp in Jordan.

Iraq

Independent: Iraqi spies have infiltrated Isis ‘sleeper cells’ to prevent future terror attacks, says minister

The New Arab: Miss Iraq, Miss Israel ‘peace and love’ selfie causes mixed response online

Jordan

The Jordan Times: Newspaper by refugees for refugees in Zaatari camp

Al Monitor: Jordan photo exhibition displays hope for victims of war, violence

Verse of the Day

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105 NIV)

“We believe we must forgive” – breaking bread with Iraqi Christian refugees

“We believe we must forgive.”

So said one of the Christian Iraqi men I met in Jordan last week. Having listened to the tragic and traumatic stories of many Christian refugees there, it is inspiring and moving to hear this talk of forgiveness.

We are now supporting over 1,100 Christian families in Jordan who have been forced to flee Iraq in fear for their lives. They told me how they had left their homes as the forces of so-called Islamic State advanced, how relatives had been kidnapped and murdered and how they had gone from one place to another seeking safety, finally having to leave their own land for the relative peace of Jordan.

Ancient ruins in Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

One woman told me of how her father had been kidnapped along with their priest. Both had been murdered. Her father’s body had been left in the street in a nearby town with a sign hung around him saying ‘if you move this body you will be killed’. The murderers didn’t want him to have a Christian burial. Her 17 year old brother had gone in the dead of night to retrieve the body. As she told me this she gently wept. Her husband sat silently with his eyes watering up. Alongside them their two children played with a teddy. We are supporting this young family with food and helping them to pay rent on their tiny and extremely modest flat. Shockingly, in Jordan the Iraqi refugees are not allowed to work, although some do work in the black economy for very meagre wages.

We work with four very different churches in Jordan: Syrian Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Full Gospel Pentecostal, and ‘Nazarene’ evangelical. We provide food and clothing, medical supplies and help with rent payments. We are also providing English lessons and working with others to facilitate trauma counselling.

English lessons in Amman for the Iraqi refugee children

There is so much need and it is growing. Every church is welcoming more refugee families every month! May I implore you to help us in any way you can. We want to help more but can only do so with more funds. As Christmas approaches we want to provide extra special food and some gifts if possible. Each Christmas food parcel for a family costs around £30. We also want to expand one of the churches by renting additional space and establishing a new children’s facility including educational and trauma counselling services. Projected costs of this are around £20,000 in the first year alone and that doesn’t include the back-office support in England. Every donation is appreciated.

Last week in Jordan we distributed food packages to over 500 families 
– two other churches received food vouchers

We will be providing a much longer report on our work in Jordan soon.

Thank you so much for your support whether in prayer, finance or promoting our charity to others. I am available to come and talk to your church about the work we do.Please email the office at office@frrme.org if you would like to discuss this.

To donate please click on this link to our website (there are numerous options for how to donate) or send us a cheque made out to ‘FRRME’ to: FRRME, PO Box 229, Petersfield, Hants, GU32 9DL, United Kingdom

Mike Simpson, CEO FRRME 

16 November 2017

EMERGENCY PRAYER REQUEST – IRAQ EARTHQUAKE

As if the people of Iraq didn’t have enough to cope with, now they have been hit by the deadliest earthquake this year. The quake, which measured 7.3 on The Richter Scale, occurred on the border between Iraq and Iran. Over 400 people  are thought to have perished, with an estimated 7,000 injured.

Eyewitnesses compared the quake to a “huge bomb”. There have also been reports of women and babies being pulled from the rubble. In Iraq, the Kurdish region has been worst hit. Our relief operation is based there, as are some of our staff and volunteers.

We ask our supporters for the following prayers:

  • Pray for the victims of the earthquake, the injured and their families.
  • Pray the emergency services are able to rescue those still trapped beneath the rubble.
  • Pray for a cessation of violence while those affected are given vital assistance.
  • Pray our team on the ground can continue delivering emergency aid to the most needy.

If you would like to support our work, please make a donation by clicking on the links below.

Please make a donation

If you are a UK resident, you can make a regular or single donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Thank you for your support.

The FRRME Team

November 2017 Prayer Diary

Please click  November Prayer Diary to see this month’s bulletin

Please click HERE for our Christmas card appeal.

If you would like to receive regular monthly updates, please contact our office@frrme.org.

You can also follow us on Facebook

With best wishes from the FRRME team

 
Now therefore, while we have time, let us do good to every person, especially to the members of the household of faith.Galatians 6:10. Aramaic Bible ©2013.

Weekly Media Summary 10 November 2017

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s media summary includes news about the rise of Shia militias in post-ISIS Iraq and an upcoming anti-ISIS conference in Jordan.

Iraq

The New Arab: The Iraq Report: Simmering insurgency looms as IS rolled back

Independent: Arbaeen: Millions of Shia Muslims take part in world’s greatest pilgrimage as Isis is finally defeated

Jordan

The Jordan Times: Amman to host anti-Daesh coalition’s meeting

Al Bawaba: Jordan to Build Largest Ever Solar Plant in a Refugee Camp Worldwide

Verse of the Day

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ Job 37:5-6 NIV

Meet the team at St George’s Clinic, Baghdad

In a country where religious war has taken hold, read about the medical clinic where Christians and Muslims work together to help people of all faiths

The medical team at St George’s Clinic in Baghdad continues to treat people of all faiths despite the recent spate of sectarian bombings. Since the retaking of Mosul in the north of the country by the Iraqi army, the capital has been subjected to frequent attacks by Islamic State. The security situation has been made worse still by the fallout from the Kurdish independence referendum which has seen fighting between Kurdish separatists and Iraqi security forces. Despite this, the Christian and Muslim staff at the clinic continue to work together to provide the best health care possible.

Meet Fatin. She is a Christian and the head receptionist at the clinic. She lives with her parents in a modest home. Along with her brother Fareed, who is a security guard at St George’s Church, she takes care of her elderly parents. Her father was recently diagnosed with cancer and, with your support, we are helping with the cost of his treatment.

This is Sara. She is a Muslim and a pharmacist at the clinic. Her parents died when she was very young and she put her life on hold to support her younger siblings, working multiple jobs to put them through school. Sara works very hard but her salary doesn’t cover everything so we provide her with £115 ($150) a month in rental assistance.

New hope for the persecuted Christians of Iraq

A crucifix embedded in the wall of St George’s Church in Baghdad

As a Christian charity, we are called to help the displaced and the dispossessed regardless of creed. However, as we have repeatedly highlighted in these updates, the aid that Western governments give to the UN does not reach the Christians. This is because Christians in Iraq cannot go to UN camps for fear of being targetted by other groups. Instead, they seek shelter in churches and rely on the charity of fellow Christians in the West.

Thankfully, this is starting to change. Having listened to the concerns of church leaders, the US government recently announced that it would provide direct financial support to persecuted Christians and other minorities via its aid-giving arm, USAID. Sadly, the British government has yet to follow suit. It’s position continues to be “take it up with the UN”. Rest assured we will continue to make representations to decision makers at the highest levels of government in the hope they will change their approach.

London supporters, please join this Procession of Witness

We would like to encourage those supporters who live in (or near) London to join us on this Procession of Witness on Saturday 18th November 2017:

 

Please support our mission

If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Thank you for your support!

The FRRME Team

Weekly Media Summary 3 November 2017

November

Each week we post a selection of recent online items where you can find out about the latest developments in the countries in which the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East operates – Iraq and Jordan.

This week’s media summary includes the second part of Patrick Cockburn’s special report on Kirkuk and an op-ed in Al Bawaba News which highlights the growing tension between the Jordanian government and EU on the issue of Syrian refugees.

Iraq

Independent: How the Kurds lost Iraq: ‘They had tanks and planes and we had no chance’

Reuters: Iraq not equipped to try Islamic State’s atrocities in Mosul: UN

Jordan

Al Bawaba News: Opinion: Jordan’s Government Must Encourage Refugees to Return Home

The Jordan Times: Empowering refugees and absorbing them

Verse of the Day

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1 NIV)

First al-Qaeda, then Daesh – one woman’s incredible story of survival in Iraq

November

Today I met with Marlene, her husband Jinan, and their two children Mariam (9) and Miran (5). This family graciously shared their story with me and it is one that I will never forget. Marlene is originally from Qaramless, a small town near Mosul. She lived there with her immediate and extended family until her father was brutally killed by al-Qaeda in 2007.

Her father worked at the local church alongside the priest – her father and the priest were killed together (Marlene witnessed this). The man responsible threatened everyone in the community and told them they were not allowed to bury her father, that he would personally kill anyone who tried. Thankfully, Marlene’s brother, who was 17 at the time, was able to sneak into the church and recover the body and the family was able to give him a Christian burial.

After the murder of their father, Marlene and her family received several death threats and so they fled to Qaraqosh, a Christian town near Mosul. However, a few weeks later Marlene’s mother passed away. Marlene is the eldest of 7 children and as such she inherited the responsibility of caring for her young siblings. Money was extremely tight and the family were forced into putting two of the younger brothers into an orphanage as they could not support them.

In 2008, Marlene brought her family to Jambour where her husband’s family is from. They lived there with her husband’s 4 handicapped sisters. They struggled to support the increasing number of family members dependent on them. The local church provided them with a tiny windowless house that was not really habitable – they were told they could live there if they could repair it. As Christians, it was difficult to find work and they struggled constantly to make ends meet.

When Daesh came things got worse. More and more young Sunni men in the town were recruited to join Daesh and the Christian families were increasingly threatened, scared and vulnerable. The family tried to flee to Erbil seven times, often sleeping rough, terrified of what was happening back in Jambour. Each time they were refused entry until finally in 2014 the Kurdish police allowed them and 50 other Christian families to go to the city of Dohuk.

In Dohuk living conditions were not much better. Marlene lived with her family in a tiny house with 23 other people and was helped once more by a local church. Eventually, they were kicked out of the house and she set up a tent for her family outside. She struggled to find a way to send her children to school. During this time her uncle was kidnapped by Daesh and to this day they still do not know his fate.

Things changed for the better in 2015 when they came to Jordan. They moved to Madaba (a town to the south of Amman) where they found support and hope from the Christian community there, as well as support from us. We provide the family with money for rent. Marlene is extremely grateful. They live in a tiny flat but their faith is ever present. Posters of Jesus are taped to the wall and this time there is at least one window to let some light in.

Helena Scott

Project Officer, Jordan

Please make a donation

If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Thank you for your support!

The FRRME Team

Extra help for Iraqi refugee families this Christmas

October

This year we would like to do something special for the Iraqi refugees we are helping.  We would like you, our supporters, to write them a Christmas card. Your message doesn’t have to be person-specific, rather an expression of Christian love for the displaced and dispossessed. All you have to do is post your card to us at the below address and we will do the rest (please note, you do not have to buy the card from us):

The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East
PO Box 229
Petersfield
Hampshire
United Kingdom

GU32 9DL

Iraqi refugees have experienced things we can only imagine – armed fanatics knocking down their doors, having to abandon their homes in a split second (sometimes forever), the months and years spent in refugee camps. Despite triumphant statements about the defeat of Daesh, millions of Iraqis are still homeless, languishing on the scrapheap of history. But with your support, we are doing what we can to make their lives better, to give them hope.

Please consider giving a little extra this Christmas. For regular and single donations please visit our Just Giving page.

Making a donation

If you are a UK resident, you can make a single or regular donation via our website by clicking here.

American supporters can make a donation via our sister organisation, FRRME America, by clicking here.

Thank you for your support!

The FRRME Team

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Insights from Sarah Ahmed, Director of Operations
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