A letter from… Irbil, Iraq
A Christian refugee reports from Irbil, Iraq
I’m from Karemlesh, a small village near Mosul. Now, the third floor of an unfinished shopping mall in Irbil is like a new Karemlesh: We have more than 100 families from Karemlesh living here, in tents that we are replacing with makeshift homes. They were forced to flee from their home in fear of their lives because they are Christians. I am an assistant to my parish priest from Karemlesh, Father Thabet, who is responsible for this floor, and I am responsible for the second floor. It is a big responsibility. I attended a course on pastoral care and I am motivated by the trust that people have in us and their prayers, and by the collaboration of people here and the smiles of the children and old people. These things give us power to keep going.
I hope in the future to go back to my village and rebuild it – to live like a citizen in our country. We are Iraqi before anything; we cannot divide the Iraqi people into Muslim and Christian and Yazidi or anything else. We have to live in our country. We love our country, but there’s no place to include us. They treat us like refugees, and we didn’t do anything bad for our country or for our village. We love our country, and we want to live in it, but we want to live like citizens.
We really thank you for your prayers and your help. We are blessed that you are sharing our difficulties through your feelings for us. We can’t say anything but: “You need to pray for us.” Thank you so much…
Martin is an Iraqi theology student whose work in Irbil is supported by the charity, Open Doors. This article is taken from a video interview recorded by Open Doors; to find out more about their work with persecuted Christians around the world, and/or to make a donation, visit www.opendoorsuk.org, email email@example.com or call 01993 777300.
This is an extract from the April 2015 edition of Reform.