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Presbyterians hear of group’s work to save Christianity in Iraq

ICC Note

Iraqi Christians have been persecuted due to their faith in Jesus Christ. Christians in the West need to help their suffering Iraqi brothers and sisters.

04/07/2009 Iraq ( Sunday, March 22, a delegation from the Chicago-based Iraqi Christian Relief Council (ICR Council) presented “Save the Flickering Light of Christianity in Iraq” at a community-wide educational and fundraising event hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Madison.

Modern-day Iraqi Christians are Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syriacs that trace their ancestry back to the great Assyrian and Babylonian empires cited in the Old Testament. They practice Christian Orthodox, Catholic, and Presbyterian (Reformed) faiths.

Prior to 2004, these Christian faithful numbered 1.4 million. Today, daily violent persecution has decimated their population to approximately 700,000. Those remaining are forced to worship underground, and the extensive violence against them – extortion, kidnapping, torture and murder, church bombings, and Christian leader beheadings – has left the refugees with great basic everyday need. “With no home, food, work, school, or medical care,” said Juliana Taimoorazy, IRC Council President, “the need is great to help these poor indigenous people.

Their hope within is slowly diminishing and it now lies with allies outside Iraq.”

The ICR Council is an all-volunteer, 501c(3)-pending organization founded in Chicago in 2007 by Taimoorazy. Benjamin Ostrom, a Madison Presbyterian Church Elder and Mission & Outreach Committee member, said, “Through the years of the war in Iraq, these long-standing small, native communities were thrust into a maelstrom, similar to that witnessed for minorities in Sudan, Bosnia, and even Rwanda. Yet, little has been heard of their unique suffering. Even relative peace in Iraq does not cease their plight, and urgent action is needed.”

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