A symbol that has been used to target and discriminate Christians in Iraq has now become a global sign of unity for the suffering body of Christ.
In mid–July, the Arabic letter ن – N for ‘Nazarene’ (Christian) – was painted on houses in Mosul by IS (Islamic State) militants, to signify where Christians were living. At the same time, Christians were met with the ultimatum to either recant their faith, pay a tax, or face “death by the sword”.
The town on the shirt is Alqosh, a small Christian-majority town in Iraq.
Alqosh, like many parts of Iraq, has had Christians living in it for well over 1300 years. It is also the biblical town of the prophet Nahum. Mosul was initially taken over by IS in June. But since the ultimatum, there are now no Christians there for the first time in 1600 years. Places like Alqosh and Qaraqosh had become places of refuge for Christians, but in early August, Qaraqosh was also taken over by IS, and about 50,000 Christians were once again forced to flee.
Tens of thousands of Christians are on the move in Iraq, as IS continues to spread throughout villages and cities.
The shirt comes with 1 Corinthians 12:26 printed on the right sleeve.
“ If one part suffers, every part suffers with it”
Open Doors is currently working in Iraq and surrounding areas. We are committed to providing support and encouragement to Christians who are suffering for their faith. Islamic State (IS) is persecuting Christians across Iraq and Syria, forcing people to flee to neighbouring countries. Christians across the Middle East are facing opposition and oppression. Open Doors wants to be equipped to deal with this tragedy as the situation changes.
If you would like to give a donation, you can do so online here, and put “Middle East” in the comments section, allowing us to use your gift where the need is greatest in the Middle East region. If you leave the comments section blank, your gift will be used where most needed around the world.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9