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Appeal to act on behalf of Christians of Iraq

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  • Thomas Joseph
    Urgent Appeal from Barnabas Fund: Iraqi Christians Face Escalating Violence Barnabas Fund Rapid Lobbying Network Action 12 3 November 2004 United Kingdom
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2004
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      Urgent Appeal from Barnabas Fund:
      Iraqi Christians Face Escalating Violence

      Barnabas Fund Rapid Lobbying Network
      Action 12
      3 November 2004
      United Kingdom

      Details

      The Christian community in northern Iraq is facing ever mounting
      intimidation and violence. Since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month
      of Ramadan (15th October) the situation has escalated, with the apparent aim
      of forcing the Christians out of their homeland. Churches have been bombed,
      church leaders threatened, Christian women attacked for failing to wear the
      hijab, money has been extorted from Christian families and death threats
      made against them. The situation has reached an extreme and desperate level.

      Urgent Action

      1. Please send a letter or fax to your MP or other local political
      representative.

      Then if you have time please also write to:

      2. The President of the US and the British Prime Minister (as the leaders of
      the two main nations in the coalition in Iraq) 3. The US and UK embassies in
      your country (if you live outside of the US or UK)
      4. Your MEP (if you live within the European Union)

      Points to Make in Your Letter

      General Points in All Letters

      1. Christians in Iraq are facing a marked increase in intimidation and
      violence at the hands of Islamic militants. Use some of the examples from
      the Background section below to show what you mean. (You can even enclose
      the whole Background section on a separate piece of paper if you like.)

      2. The US, UK and Iraqi security forces and authorities in Iraq should be
      fully briefed on this situation and should redouble their efforts to do all
      they can to ensure the full protection of the Christian community, to bring
      to an end these threats and attacks and uphold their human rights.

      3. Urge the recipient of your letter to do all they can to call for this and
      to work to end the suffering of Iraqi Christians as a matter of urgency (see
      Specific Points below).

      Specific Points for Some Letters

      1. Ask your MP (or other local political representative) to raise the
      suffering of Christians in Iraq as a matter of utmost urgency with the
      Foreign Secretary (or equivalent in your country) and call for their
      immediate intervention to protect Iraqi Christians. 2. In writing to the
      President of the US, the British Prime Minister or the US and UK embassies
      argue that they as the two main nations in the coalition in Iraq have a
      special responsibility to ensure the protection of Iraqi Christians. 3. Ask
      your MEP to urge the European Commission to look into the suffering of
      Christians in Iraq urgently and do all it can through diplomatic and
      political channels to urge the coalition nations to pay special attention to
      the persecution of Christians and to ensure their protection.

      Points to Remember in Letter Writing

      * Be polite and calm: facts and reasoned argument will be more effective
      than emotive phrases and pleas
      * Be clear and keep it simple: firstly identify what the problem is,
      secondly tell the recipient of your letter what you would like them to do
      about it (adapt the above points)
      * Be concise: your letter should certainly be no longer than one side at the
      very maximum

      Please write a letter using your own words. A personal letter from you will
      be much, much more effective than a standard one, which are often ignored.

      Contact Details

      MPs for British Supporters

      Your MP
      House of Commons
      Westminster
      LONDON
      SW1A 0AA

      Find out name of MP by calling House of Commons Information Line: Tel: 020
      7219 4272
      Send fax or e-mail via http://www.faxyourmp.org

      President of the US and the British Prime Minister

      President George Bush
      The White House
      1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
      Washington, DC 20500
      USA The Rt Hon Tony Blair MP
      10 Downing Street
      London
      SW1A 2AA
      UK

      US Embassies

      Australia:

      J. Thomas Schieffer
      Ambassador
      American Embassy
      Moonah Place
      Yarralumla ACT 2600
      Fax: 02 6214 5970
      Canada:

      Paul Celluci
      Ambassador
      American Embassy
      490 Sussex Drive
      Ottawa
      Ontario K1N 1G8
      mailto:ottawacomments@...
      Germany:

      Daniel R Coats
      Ambassador
      American Embassy
      Neustaedtische Kirchstr.4-5
      10117 Berlin
      Fax: 030 8305 1215

      Ireland:

      James C. Kenny
      Ambassador
      American Embassy
      42 Elgin Road
      Ballsbridge
      Dublin 4
      Fax: +353 1 668 9946
      New Zealand:

      Charles J. Swindells
      Ambassador
      American Embassy
      POBox 1190
      Wellington
      Fax: +644 499 0490
      UK:

      David T. Johnson
      Charg' d'Affairs
      Ambassador
      American Embassy
      24 Grosvenor Square
      LONDON
      W1A 1AE


      UK Embassies

      Australia:

      Sir Alastair Goodlad
      High Commissioner
      British High Commission
      Commonwealth Avenue
      Yarralumla ACT 2600
      Fax: 02 6273 3236
      Canada:

      David Reddaway
      High Commissioner
      British High Commission
      80 Elgin Street
      Ottawa
      Ontario K1P 5K7
      Fax: 1 613 237 7980
      Germany:

      Sir Peter Torry
      Ambassador
      British Embassy
      Wilhelmstr.70-71
      10117 Berlin
      mailto:info@...

      Ireland:

      Stewart Eldon
      Ambassador
      British Embassy
      29 Merion Road
      Dublin 4
      New Zealand:

      Richard Fell
      High Commissioner
      British High Commission
      POBox 1812
      Wellington
      Fax: 04 473 4982
      USA:

      The British Ambassador
      3100 Massachusetts Ave
      Washington DC
      20008


      MEPs

      Your MEP
      Phone the UK Office of the European Parliament on 020 7227 4300 or check out
      for the address of your local MEPs. Supporters from other EU countries
      please go to the European Parliament homepage.


      Background

      The Christian community in northern Iraq is facing ever mounting
      intimidation and violence. Since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month
      of Ramadan (15th October) the situation has escalated, with the apparent aim
      of forcing the Christians out of their homeland.

      International media reported the first incident, when explosions occurred at
      five churches in Baghdad just after 4.00 a.m. on Saturday 16th October (2nd
      Ramadan). But the other threats and attacks on Christians go largely
      unreported. Photographs of three senior bishops in Mosul are being
      circulated around, with the message that they are agents of the USA,
      infidels, and action must be taken against them. The church leaders serving
      the Christian community of Karakush, Mosul have received two letters from
      the Islamic militants. The first ordered them to allow Christian women to
      marry Muslim men (which in Muslim eyes means the women effectively convert
      to Islam). This, said the letter, would enable the women to be "blessed" and
      "purified" by their marriages.

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      The second letter to church leaders, received yesterday 2nd November,
      announced the militants' intention of killing one person in every Christian
      family, as a punishment for the women not covering their heads and not going
      to university. This follows up pressure and threats from Islamic extremists
      against all women in Mosul, requiring them to cover their head with the
      hijab (Islamic headscarf). A Christian woman was killed around 26th October
      for having her head uncovered. Two other Christian women who were seen
      bareheaded in a market had nitric acid squirted in their faces. Specific
      threats about the clothing of female students at Mosul University have so
      frightened the Christians that an estimated 1,500 Christian women have
      stopped attending their classes.

      Islamic militants are knocking on the doors of Christian homes in Mosul,
      demanding money. They argue that since the Christians do not contribute
      weapons and do not fight, they must make a financial donation instead. This
      follows exactly the model of classical Islam, whereby Christians and Jews
      were excluded from fighting for the Islamic state but instead required to
      pay a special tax - jizya - to cover the costs of their protection.

      Leaflets are being distributed with the message: "Christians go; leave
      Iraq." Word is being passed around in the mosques, telling Muslims not to
      buy anything from the Christians. Not only are they infidels, it is said,
      but also they will soon be leaving, so the Muslims will be able
      to take their homes and property for free.

      Pray

      In this grave situation, the Christians in Iraq beg for the prayers of their
      Christian brothers and sisters elsewhere.

      * Pray that Iraqi Christians (especially women) will have a special sense of
      the Lord's presence near them at this time. Ask that they will receive an
      abundance of faith, courage, strength and enduring love from the Lord to
      enable them to continue on with their faith in these dark days.

      * Pray for the protection of Iraqi Christians. That no further attacks or
      violent incidents will occur.

      * Pray for the US, British and new national authorities in Iraq. Ask that
      through your letters and the other reports they receive, their hearts will
      be moved to a special concern for Iraqi Christians. Pray that in the midst
      of many other serious problems the authorities will take seriously their
      responsibility to also protect the Christian community and do everything
      that is in their power to achieve this.

      * Pray for the Islamic militants who are currently targeting Christians in
      Iraq. Pray that God will soften hard hearts and that they will be convicted
      with the horror of what they have done and turn to the Lord in repentance.
      Pray that they will come to faith in Christ, and in years to come (like Paul
      of Tarsus) will turn from persecutors to great champions of the Gospel.

      Please do share these requests with your Christian friends and churches. All
      lobbying requests are available on our website in a more colourful
      user-friendly presentation format which you can access, print and pass on.
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