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03 February 2006

Iraqi Christians Fear More Attacks

CWNews.com– The car bombs that hit four Iraqi churches last week killed three people.

The bombs did little damage to property, but the greatest impact of these attacks is the dread that comes upon the Christian

community every time they are hit. Christians are a tiny minority in Iraq -- only about three percent of the population.

Some observers fear that, as more Christians flee the violence, their community will shrink away.

Last year Gary Lane went to the region to meet with some Christian refugees. He also met with some other Christian believers who are determined to stay in Iraq.

It's an exodus of historic proportions. Thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled to the neighboring nations of Syria and Jordan.

CBN News caught up with some of the Christian refugees in Damascus, Syria. An Iraqi refugee man in Syria told us, "We left Baghdad; we were forced to leave, what could we do?"

Another refugee, a woman, asks: "How can I go back right now? Haven't you seen how the militant Muslims are bombing the churches?"

At least 100 Iraqi Christians have perished at the hands of Muslim radicals since the fall of Saddam Hussein and personal attacks and threats against Christian families are mounting.

Islamic extremists threatened to kill this man's family because his father-a building contractor-was thought to be working with the United States. He says the insurgents believe Christians who work with the Americans are traitors.

He said, "The situation is so bad, we can't find a job. My father is sitting at home jobless now, scared for his life."

Fear is widespread throughout the traditional Iraqi church. Some church buildings are empty-members are either too scared to attend services or have been urged to stay home by their Chaldean and Assyrian clergy.

While thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled the country looking for safety in neighboring Syria and Jordan, a small group of evangelicals here in the northern city of Erbil have chosen to stay. Some have gone through the fiery furnace of persecution more determined than ever to remain and lead their fellow countrymen to Christ.

Patrick Sookhdeo of the Barnabas Fund suggests lasting change may only come to Iraq if Christians pray fervently for divine intervention.

He said, " I can't help feeling that the forces of confusion, chaos of disorder-demonic forces have been unleashed on the region. But we believe that Christ is greater-infinitely greater-than Satan-that Christ will keep his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against that church and ultimately he will be victorious."

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