Stand with Adrian in Iraq
For the first time since ISIS drove all the Christians from Iraq’s Nineveh Plain in 2014, the Christian town of Qaraqosh celebrates Easter after many of its families returned. During this week leading to Easter, we visit Qaraqosh to meet with Christians there. Adrian (20) shares about the ongoing suffering of Iraqi Christians and asks you to stand with them in prayer.
Adrian is one of the 25,000 Christians who returned to Qaraqosh last year. He recently started working in an optical shop.
Standing in the square of the iconic Tahira Church, it is a sight to behold one of the largest churches in the Middle East. Ironically, this courtyard was used by the ISIS as a training ground for new terrorists. They used it like a shooting range. The marble pillars of the church are riddled with bullets, and still remain as silent witnesses to ISIS’ hate of Christianity.
On this Good Friday – the day where Christians all around the world remember Jesus’ suffering – this young believer points out that Christians in Iraq have been under pressure long before ISIS came, and that they still feel threatened today. “So, suffering is something that Iraqi Christians can identify with, very easily.”
Christians are kidnapped, hurt and killed
Adrian paints a broader picture of decades of pressure on Christians from Qaraqosh. “For example, during the war between Iraq and Iran in the nineteen eighties, many people from Qaraqosh were captured or killed. We still feel the effects of that in our community”, he says.
There is a museum in the center of Qaraqosh, where all the soldiers who were killed or have disappeared are remembered. Several of Adrian’s relatives are among them.
“More recently – from 2003 till today, Christians are getting kidnapped, hurt and killed all the time”, he says. “Especially in cities like Mosul and Bagdad. Just earlier this month, three Christians were stabbed to death in Baghdad.”
Stand with Adrian this Easter
This young Christian has an important message on his heart he wants to share – to tell the world that living as a Christian in Iraq will always be a challenge. “Just realize that”, is what he asks.
“And yet”, he says. “My grandparents, my family, myself; we are still here. Still standing. Can I ask you to stand with us in your prayers this Easter? Because we want to remain here. Thank you very much.”