“Out of sight; out of mind.” That might work if we’re talking about shoving clutter into a closet, but there’s no way it can work if we’re talking about a Christian genocide & persecution in Iraq.
As the world watches, Christians are pushed out of their homes and dying because of their faith. Not only are they dying, but Christian families are being destroyed, children beheaded, women raped, and men hung and crucified because they refuse to convert to Islam.[i]
As soon as I heard of this horrific news, I could see history repeating itself and children being caught in the crossfire of extremist behaviour. What should hit home more than anything else – “She’s Someone’s Little Girl”. Being a father of a baby girl, I can’t even begin to imagine what some parents are going through right now! In fact, I can hardly read the words I’m typing with my tear filled eyes.
With little hope, Christian children are innocently experiencing a modern day remake of the darker episodes of history.
ISIS is marking Christian houses with an Arabic “N” (for Nasrani meaning “Christians”) to mark the dwellings as a captured Christian home.[ii] Perhaps it is a biblical mockery of the Exodus story of the Israelites marking their doorposts in association with God’s people (Ex. 12:7)?
I thought of the unflattering history of the crusades by where both Christians and Muslims exchanged territorial power. Unfortunately, these actions were carried out in “the name of God”. In reality, the wars between these two groups were generally founded in political gain rather than spiritual conviction. My point proven by the results – very little intentional positive gain on either side. The only thing we can agree on for sure – people lost their lives.
I also thought of the more recent history of the horror of the Holocaust as Hitler set out to annihilate Jews and other minorities in search of the “perfect race”. ISIS continues to kill all who refuse to convert to Islam, and capture and enslave those who pay a “fee”.[iii] In reality, there is no choice.
Why can’t we learn from history and move forward?
Part of me is just as astonished at the thought process of ISIS as the actual acts they are committing. The level of suffering they are inflicting on others just doesn’t make sense. And if it’s a religious conviction, it makes even less sense as Islam is founded on concepts such as peace.
Perhaps the answer lies more in the people asking the question than it does in the people ignoring the lessons of history.
Matthew West, in his song “Do Something”, makes a significant statement:
…I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you!”[iv]
What can WE DO to help? Isn’t it up to those with “real power”, like the government?
As the world tries to figure out how to stop the inhumane actions of ISIS, there are things we can do:
1. We can pray.
As a family, you can pray. Bring your family together, hold your kids tight, hold the picture of your grandchildren, nephew, or niece, and pray together for the families experiencing chaos, loss and pain. Some are fighting for their lives, some have lost loved ones, and some are living in converted fear.
Pray for ISIS. Pray that God’s love and peace will surround them so they’re eyes are opened to acceptance.
In writing to the Romans, Paul wrote: “…I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18). I pray that in the wake of suffering, the HOPE found in Christians around the world, will transform everyone involved!
2. We can partner financially.
As a family, you can give. There are many organizations giving relief aid to those stranded in and fleeing from Iraq. A couple of groups in particular:
Samaritan’s Purse Canada — https://secure.samaritan.ca/Donation/Default.aspx?pc=013560
Save The Children Canada — https://www.savethechildren.ca/emergency .
If everyone gave a small donation, think of the impact we could make?
3. We can build awareness.
Read, learn and share articles and news updates regarding this crisis. The more attention is brought to this, the more the government and organizations will pay attention to what they can do. Share this post and use the hashtag #WeAreN — letting the world know, we are supporting those suffering!
What are you going to do? Will you ignore the cry for help, close this post, and say, “out of sight; out of mind”? …or will you take action and do something?
“She’s Someone’s Little Girl!”
[i] Leonardo Blair, “ISIS ‘Systematically Beheading Children’ in Iraq; They Are ‘Killing Every Christian They See,’ Says Chaldean Leader,” ChristianPost.com, http://www.christianpost.com/news/isis-systematically-beheading-children-in-iraq-they-are-killing-every-christian-they-see-says-chaldean-leader-124594/.
[ii] Catherine Harmon, “ISIS tags Christian homes in Mosul for confiscation as Christians flee,” The Catholic World Report, http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/3264/isis_tags_christian_homes_in_mosul_for_confiscation_as_christians_flee.aspx.
[iii] Reuters, “Convert, pay tax, or die, Islamic State warns Christians,” TheGuardian.com, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/18/isis-islamic-state-issue-ultimatum-to-iraq-christians.
[iv] Matthew West, “Do Something,” SongLyrics, http://www.songlyrics.com/matthew-west/do-something-lyrics/#LB73AF5rPCqLA0hQ.99.
**persecution in iraq