This week I received the following email which is asking us to pray.
Daily there is fresh Middle East news: from Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine and other Arab and Muslim lands – more violence and more deaths! Ramadan, the annual Muslim lunar month of fasting, was in July. Arab news reporters observed that it has been the worst Ramadan in centuries – calamities impacted more lives than ever.
For the first time in centuries, an Islamic Caliphate was re-established by Sunni militants who seized parts of Iraq and Syria. They come from every continent and region of the world. A longstanding dream has dawned – an Islamic state, strictly run by Qur’anic teachings and religious edicts (Fatwas) patterned on their prophet Mohammed’s 14-century old Arabic desert words and deeds.
Christians, other minorities and women have become the main victims. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christian families of central and northern Iraq and several thousand of northeaster Syria have been forced to abandon homes, jobs and everything, running for their lives to parts of the country not yet controlled by the newly-declared Caliph (Successor to Mohammed). They were not allowed to take more than the clothes on their backs, not even prescribed medications for the sick and elderly. The choice was: convert to Islam or leave the newly-declared “Islamic nation” or be executed by sword! Most walked miles in the heat to meet the midday deadline, the elderly and sick being carried on make-shift stretchers. Not unlike what many early Christians faced!
Thousands of Arabic newspaper articles and Internet articles have condemned the new Caliph.
WHAT Middle East Reformed Fellowship IS DOING
Until two years ago MERF was supporting believers across the Presbyterian Church in Iraq. Tragically, due the instability originally caused by the US invasion of Iraq there ceased to be any reliable contacts with the Presbyterian Church to whom we could channel funds.
Now it is only through Syria and Lebanon that we can help. It is estimated that at least 16,000 Iraqi Christian families have entered Lebanon in the past two weeks alone. Many more are now in Syria. Others have relatives and other contacts and are receiving aid through UN and other secular agencies in the Kurdish controlled northern regions of Iraq.
We will work closely with Lebanon Reformed Fellowship and the brethren in Syria to do what we can to help.
Please uphold this situation in your prayers before our Sovereign Lord.