Amid reports of destruction by ISIS, accelerating controversy over U.S. strategy in Iraq, and a growing pessimism towards the situation overall, American sympathy towards suffering Iraqis may easily transform into confusion and inactivity. Daniel Mark wrote last week that the situation for religious minorities in Iraq is “another hard lesson from history about evil, genocide, and the precariousness of religious freedom and human rights.” But as freedom and quality of life deteriorate for many in Iraq, let us not view their plight as simply a learning opportunity. Instead, here is a brief guide on how you and I can begin to care for persecuted minorities from our homes and offices across the Atlantic.
1. Read Up
Minority Rights Group International’s report on the situation in Iraq provides a comprehensive breakdown of the human rights violations occurring across the country and among different religious groups. From one interviewee: “We are living without human dignity. We are living like animals. Sixty people are living in a room of 40 square meters. Two thousand people are using one bathroom. This is in the Church of Mar Yousef.” Iraq is #3 on Open Door’s World Watch List for places where Christians face the most persecution. Find out why. Barnabas Aid, among other organizations, posts updates on persecution and perseverance directly from the communities they support.
Learn how to pray for the persecuted church. Get prayer requests directly from Iraq through Open Door. Gain resources, training, information, and join a community of those praying with Operation World. Become a prayer partner.
Those institutions and amenities that give structure to human life are disappearing for many Iraqis. World Magazine has compiled a list of organizations that are actively working in Iraq to provide food, shelter, medical care, to build schools and infrastructure, to train pastors, and to support churches. Also, remember that the cost of working in an area for these groups rises as security there worsens. They need support.
Read about practical tips for communicating with members of Congress. Learn about and support proposed legislation that could benefit religious minorities. Or, be a part of a movement that spurs on new policies. As American citizens, remember that we have the unique ability to play an active role in the political process.