The situation in Iraq is reaching a crisis point as the Iraqi army, together with a loose coalition of forces, close in on ISIL’s stronghold in the city of Mosul.
In the last 24 hours, Barnabas Fund has spoken with one of the archbishops of Mosul. He stated that Christians who fled two years ago from the villages near Mosul, which have been liberated from ISIL over the last few days, are unsure whether to return to their homes.
Their greatest concerns are the safety and security issues still facing themselves and their families, but it is likely to be at least a month before the situation becomes clearer.
The archbishop has specifically asked Barnabas Fund supporters to pray for these Christians to know God’s will.
As far as the situation in Mosul itself is concerned, the archbishop questions whether Christians will ever be allowed back in the city.
Those now fleeing the city of Mosul ahead of the battle are almost exclusively Sunni Muslims, as the Christians of Mosul were forced to leave in 2014 when ISIL took over.
Although ISIL initially appeared willing to allow Christians in Mosul to have dhimmi status, shortly afterwards they gave them the choice of immediately converting to Islam, leaving or being executed.
It is, therefore, extremely unlikely that any Christian community still exists in Mosul, although there is a small possibility that a handful of elderly Christians, who were too infirm to leave, may have managed to survive hidden in the city. However, there is currently no evidence that this is so.
- Pray for Iraq and the city of Mosul as Iraqi forces seek to free it from ISIL control. Pray for a speedy end to the conflict and for residents, including Mosul’s former Christian residents, to be able to return home in peace.
- Pray for the Christians who were forced to leave Mosul by ISIL, for peace, comfort and wisdom as to when to return home. Pray too for their protection and safety both as they wait in refugee camps and when they return to their homes.
- Pray for an end to the conflict in both Iraq and Syria, for peace in the streets, homes and hearts of the people of these nations.
- Pray that many in Iraq will seek to know the truth of Jesus Christ and come to know His life, healing and grace.
Isaiah 45 vs 22: “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”