FOR THE MARTYRS

Help Bring Operation Christmas to Iraq

Help Bring Operation Christmas to Iraq

Help Bring Operation Christmas to Iraq

What’s Happening in Iraq?

Over the past 19 years, the Christian population in Iraq has dropped over 80%, falling from around 1 million to less than 250,000 (Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant combined). Many Iraqi Christians lived in agricultural towns on the Nineveh plains or in the northern cities, like Mosul or Baghdad. 

Since 2003, Iraqi Christians have experienced a rise in targeted violence and attacks. Brought on by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, cities grew dangerous for Christians as shootings, kidnappings and bombings increased. Islamic militias, such as Al-Qaeda, used threats to extort protection money from churches. Christians began to flee from cities, heading north.

In 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) swept across northern Iraq, a region called the Nineveh plains, capturing cities and demolishing historic sites. ISIS explicitly targeted Christians in their attacks, marking Christian homes with the Arabic letter “ ن ” for Nazarean. Islamic State’s brutal military campaigns lasted until 2017 and drove Christians from their homes and into refugee camps or out of Iraq entirely. 

Peace in Iraq is fragile. Northern Iraq and the Nineveh plains are current battlegrounds between remnant ISIS forces and the Iraqi military. A few Iraqi Christians are returning to their cities and homes in hopes of rebuilding their lives. However, with many cities in ruins from ISIS’s campaigns there is little incentive to return.

“Of the twenty thousand Christians that fled Mosul when ISIS came, only one hundred have returned,” said Reine Hanna, director of the Assyrian Policy Institute. “People can’t work and earn a living among ruins.”

As of 2021, there are still tens of thousands of internally displaced people within Iraq. Many of these are Christian families, living in refugee camps.

 

How Can I Help?

For the Martyrs is traveling to Iraq to bring Christmas to Christian families who have fled violence in their home towns and cities. Operation Christmas will provide wrapped Christmas gifts, in addition to food, clothing and over-the-counter medicine. For the Martyrs hopes to bring supplies to those Iraqi Christians in need, hear their stories and pray with them.

Will you help make Operation Christmas to Iraq possible? Click here to learn more.

 

Image: Syrian children play under the heat of the midday sun at Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Jordan, on April 17, 2014. AP / Khalil Hamra)

Acquired from Business Insider Australia article “13.6 Million People Have Been Displaced By The Wars In Iraq And Syria”

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