30 Minutes To Leave Mosul

It was a hot afternoon in Mosul. When Amer* turned on his mobile phone, it seemed to explode with messages and missed calls.

“Haven’t you heard? You are a Christian. If you don’t leave Mosul by 12 midday you will be killed unless you convert.”

Amer’s heart raced. It was 11.30 am. 

It was June 2014 in Mosul, Amer’s hometown. Islamic State, then known as ISIS, had swiftly taken over his city. Christian houses were marked with an ‘N’ for Nasrani – meaning Christian, and scores of Christians left the city right away.

Images: Click image to read caption.

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10 life-changing moments from the persecuted church in 2015

We asked our CEO, Mike, to tell us what has challenged or encouraged him in his faith this year. These were his answers…

1. Indonesia: ‘We will not stop hunting Christians’

Indonesia

We will not stop hunting Christians’ – these have to be some of the most chilling words I heard from last year, words used by extremists after they had burnt this church down. This image really brings to life the reality of persecution in Indonesia. It’s an image that for me really conveys stress, anxiety, pressure and fear.

2. Egypt: 21 Christians killed, Believers respond with love Continue reading

Destruction in Homs, Syria

6 Ways We are Helping in Syria

Working in over 60 countries worldwide, Open Doors runs hundreds of programs, projects and training events. Here are just 6 of the ways Open Doors is providing for the needs of over 9,000 families in Syria. Continue reading

#WeAreN – the church in Australia united in prayer

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

On 10 June 2014, members of Islamic State (then known as ISIS), seized Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. An estimated 500,000 residents joined a mass exodus out of the city.

Christians were later given an ultimatum from Islamic State – convert to Islam, pay special taxes for non-Muslims as a ‘protection fee’ or leave. The statement from Islamic State concluded, “…if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.” Houses belonging to believers were sprayed with the Arabic letter ن – ‘N’, standing for Nazarene, or Christian. 

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Iraq: The church that stayed…

You’ve probably heard the story behind the symbol used to mark Christians by IS (self procalimed Islamic State).
What you probably don’t know is the story behind the city on this shirt.

#WeAreN shirt

#WeAreN shirt

It’s called Alqosh.
It’s a Christian majority town in Northern Iraq.
It is also now the only Christian town in the Nineveh Plain not taken by IS.

Most cities like Mosul are now virtually empty of Christians, with no churches holding Christian services for the first time in almost 2 millennium.
Churches have been claimed by IS as prisons and distribution centres, with crosses being torn down and replaced with the IS flag.

Alqosh has Christians who have remained, despite IS coming very close to the town. These are places where the history and stories of the Bible were formed, and have had a Christian presence since the early church for over 1500 years. And they are now on the brink of destruction.

75% of the church in Iraq have left since the 1990s.

75% of the church in Iraq have left since the 1990s.

Over 75% of the church have left Iraq since the early 1990’s.
Could you imagine if three quarters of the church disappeared from Australia and the spiritual impact that would have on this country?

Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if this happened in Australia, if my family were threatened and forced out of their homes for their faith.
Then I remember, they are my family in Christ.

We will pray as one body and one family.
We will strengthen what remains and not let the church fade away.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

This blog post was written by James, who leads Open Doors Australia’s Youth’s Ministry.

Open Doors Youth is a movement responding the the cry of the persecuted church. A voice that tells their story, unashamedly standing up for those who suffer persecution. 

Want to get involved? For more information on how to do this please visit www.opendoorsyouth.org.au or find us on Facebook.

This shirt is still available to purchase (limited sizes).

My Daughter Christine

My Daughter Christine – Taken by Islamic State

Update September 2016: Open Doors have heard from the family that Christine is living with a Christian ladiy who was kidnapped by Islamic State (IS). The lady was forced into marriage with an IS-fighter and managed to take Christine under her care. The family urge us to pray for her return.

Open Doors met with Adya and her husband Khader in their cramped porta-cabin, a typical living situation for the thousands of Iraqi families displaced by the violence. They are currently living here with their daughter Basma and son Chris. When we spoke with Ayda she spoke with a distinct sadness, blankly staring forward. Khader is blind and for the most part remained quiet during our visit. Continue reading

Visiting the refugee camps in Iraq…

Full camps, overburdened aid workers, but also, tentative celebrations, Christians who are opening up their houses and churches to refugees and people who are hesitating about returning to their homes. Just over two months since the first influx of refugees, Open Doors worker Sara* visited the Kurdish Iraqi town of Erbil.

It is difficult to get a complete picture of the situation in northern Iraq. Since the fighters of the extremist Islamic State (IS) advanced with much violence on Mosul, the relatively safe Kurdish region has been flooded with refugees. Sara visited some of the refugee camps where local Churches are providing aid with the support of Open Doors.

“My previous visit to Erbil was in April, before the unrest. At first sight, little seems to have changed in Erbil: the airport is still peaceful, my hotel is still there. But when you look better, you see the changes. Restaurants are closed, here and there camps have grown up, and suddenly you see the beggars, the streets are filthy, food and aid packages are being carted about.” Continue reading