ICC Note: The threats that have confronted Iraq’s Christian community have forced them to make incredibly difficult decisions that have both short and long-term implications. More than 100,000 Christians have fled their homes, but now the choices continue of what to do next. Will they stay in the Kurdish controlled areas of Northern Iraq, will they leave the country, or leave the region altogether? These are the realities facing Christians on a massive scale.
10/05/2014 Iraq (Liberty Voice) – ISIS militants forced many Iraqi Christians to flee their homes when they overran the cities of Mosul and Qaraqosh in June 2014, but persecution continues with harassment, unfair taxes, arrests, banishment and violence against any who run afoul of Islamic authorities by choosing to hold tight to their Christian beliefs even in the face of threats and grave dangers. Many Christians who escape the perils they face in Iraq and other ISIS-controlled areas tell stories of demands to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ and convert to Islam or face oppression, arrest, imprisonment or death.
One woman told reporters that the only choice for staying alive was to leave. A young father at a Jordanian church, where many fleeing Iraqi Christians have found temporary refuge in the last few months, spoke of leaving everything to follow Jesus according to biblical teaching. In spite of the jeopardies they face, thousands of Middle Eastern Christians living in ISIS dominated regions are following suit in refusing to abandon their God and making the choice to put integrity of faith above all else.
Christians, along with other Iraqi minority groups that do not adhere to the principles of radical Islam, have received ISIS ultimatums to “convert, leave or die,” according to the Christian Post. The terrorist group has no mercy for anyone espousing different beliefs or of a different ethnicity. Work is difficult to come by for Christians, leaving them struggling to pay daily living expenses, let alone the oppressive poll tax demanded of them.