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Prized targets of militants: Iraqi church leaders 2007-8

Testimonies

Prized targets of militants: Iraqi church leaders 2007-8

Church leaders in Iraq have been frequently targeted by Islamic militants who are intent on “cleansing” the country of all Christians. Such attacks send a message to the entire Christian community that they are all in danger because of their faith.

On 3 June 2007, a church minister and three deacons were shot dead as they drove away from their church in Mosul, northern Iraq, after the evening service. They were about a hundred metres from the church when a group of gunmen opened fire. Another Iraqi church leader, Yousif Adil Abbodi, was assassinated in a drive-by shooting on 5 April 2008. The 47-year-old church leader had previously received several death threats. He was shot dead just after he left his home in Baghdad.

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!

The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene; one step enough for me.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.

O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone, And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod, Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.

To rest forever after earthly strife

In the calm light of everlasting life.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Originally published in Heroes of Our Faith by Patrick Sookhdeo (Isaac Publishing)