In Iraq, the church is in danger of disappearing. Over the past decade it has shrunk from nearly 1.5 million to as small as 200,000, and many of them have been forced from their homes.
The jihadist group ISIS has taken control of large portions of Iraq, including the traditional homelands of Iraq's Christian communities. They have openly committed tremendous atrocities, including: mass executions, destruction of churches, and raping and enslaving thousands of women from the Christian and Yazidi communities.
Since June 2014, the number of those displaced from their homes has climbed to nearly 3 million. These people fled first in the midst of Iraq's sweltering summer and then, with many still living on the floor of construction sites, in shopping malls, or schools, they faced a harsh winter, and now the temperatures are beginning to rise again.
The small churches in the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq are doing incredible work to care for those in need. As Christians they are striving to meet not just the physical needs, but spiritual needs as well. ICC has been there with them on the ground and is helping them to continue providing food and other assistance for their brothers and sisters and others in need. This includes:
- Food packages
- Air coolers and fans for summer
- Spiritual Outreach and Discipleship
While the international community is attempting to provide for the needs, the response is far from sufficient. There remain huge needs for adequate shelter. As summer arrives providing for fans and air coolers to enable people to deal with the temperatures that regularly approach 130 degrees is an urgent need.
ICC's partners on the ground are working to meet these needs. A current project ICC is working on is targeting 400 families - over 2,000 people - to ensure that they receive supplies to survive the summer.
Will you join with us as we assist the Iraqi church in this crisis and show God's love to thousands in need?
ISIS capture of Mosul in June 2014 was its moment to caputre the country's second largest city and overnight nearly 500,000 fled. Over the next few weeks they expanded their control over the Ninevah Plain, home to Christian communities for nearly 2,000 years - and for Assyrian and Syriacs for even longer. The number of those internally displaced people (IDPs) has climbed to nearly 3 million.
To use the resources we have most effectively and efficently, ICC has been intentional about identifying communities who have been overlooked and helping to ensure they get items that they need. We're also working with both local churches and NGO partners to have not just an immediate, but also a long-lasting impact.
Here are just a few highlights of what ICC has been doing to make a difference for thousands of these IDPs over the past few months.
Through the fall and winter, ICC helped to provide hundreds of IDP's with jackets and boots to help deal with the cold and wet weather.
We've also worked to meet the basic needs of food and water, providing thousands of food packages and for one isolated community, facilitated a water truck delivering thousands of gallons of water for them to be able to cook and clean.
To see more of our aid to Christians in Iraq check out the January 2015 edition of Persecution Magazine:
ICC sent a team to Iraq in August to assess the situation, distribute aid, and encourage the Christians in Iraq who are attempting to deal with this crisis. Incredible work is being done by local churches, many who are displaced themselves, delivering food, water, and so much more to people in need.
Following their return ICC's Advocacy Director recorded a three-part Q/A session answering dozens of questions asked by ICC supporters on social media. Here is part 1, recorded on August 28, 2014.
Pray for protection for these communities and for those who are still in areas where ISIS is operating.
Pray for resources as families try to find housing and continue to put food on the table. Prices for basic necesities and food staples have risen. Gas for vehicles has become expensive and the lines to get fuel are very long. Rent has more than doubled in the past three months.
Pray for leaders as they cope with major logistical issues of housing and caring for hundreds of thousands of people. Many have lost everything, including ID cards and important documents that are needed for getting government aid.
Pray for energy, endurance, and protection for those working to distribute aid and meet the needs of so many hurting and displaced people. The situation can seem overwhelming at times. Pray that the churches would see this as a time to show the love of Christ in new ways
You can also donate over the phone or by mail. Just specify that your gift is for "Iraqi Crisis Response"
To give by phone please call 1-800-ICC-5441
- May 27 A Christian Oasis In Iraq
- May 27 ISIS Burn Assyrian Woman, 80, in North Iraq
- May 18 Hereditary Martyrs: The Christian Victims Of ISIS’s Massacres
- May 18 State Department Says No To Iraqi Christians
- May 18 The Plight of the Middle East’s Christians
- May 14 Women Working in Iraq Testify About Horrifying Genocide of Christians and Their Heritage By ISIS
- May 14 Sister Diana Testifies About Suffering of Christians and Other Religious Minorities in Iraq
- May 13 "Whoever Disbelieves, Strike Off His Head"
- May 11 The Lives Of Assyrian Christians-Can We Imagine?
- May 5 Ancient Christian Communities In Middle East Could Be Eradicated, Says Author
- May 4 13 Million Flee Religion-Linked Conflicts Worldwide
- May 4 U.S. Religious Freedom Commission Calls For Criminal Prosecution Of Islamic State
- May 2 Iraqi Christian Leader Denied US Visa
- May 1 U.S. Commission: 17 Countries “Engage in or Tolerate Severe Violations of Religious Freedom”
- May 1 2014: A Year of Particular Concern According to USCIRF
- May 1 "Indifference And Inaction" On Middle East "A Scandal"
- April 29 Christian Exodus Weakens Moderate Islam
- April 28 Christians In The Middle East At Risk Of Extinction, Party Leaders Warned
- April 25 Faith Turns Christians into Terrorist Targets
- April 24 100 Years: Remembrance, Rejection, and Steps of Reconciliation for Genocide of Christians
- November 03: ICC Featured Article: Losing Hope: What is Next for Iraq’s Christian Community?
- October 16: ICC News Release: ICC to Host Major Congressional Briefing on Iraq and Syria
- September 02: ICC News Release: Christian Beaten to Death in Iraq by ISIS for Refusing to Convert
- August 14: ICC Featured Article: The Bells Toll for Iraq’s Religious Minorities
- August 10: ICC Featured Article: Iraq’s Religious Minorities still in Danger as Fighting Continues and International Help Arrives
- August 07: ICC News Release: Iraq’s “Christian Capital” Wiped Clean as Thousands Flee Radical Onslaught
- July 21: ICC Featured Article: “The Only Thing Between Us and Them is the Sword”
- July 15: ICC News Release: Relief as Five Missing Christians Released, But Dangers Still Abound for Iraq’s Christians
- July 03: ICC Featured Article: The New Iraq: An Islamic State with No Christians?
- June 20: ICC Featured Article: Are We Witnessing The Last Days of the Iraqi Church?
- June 11: ICC News Release: Iraqi Christians Flee as Jihadist Group Captures Iraq’s Second Largest City
Click here to learn more about ICC's Iraqi Crisis Response Project