Christians in Iraq are in a pincer grip between the Sunni government and the Shiite militia.
Following a violent clash last week between the Iraqi army and the Hashid al-Shaabi militia, a new agreement left Hashid in control of all but one of the checkpoints on the Ninevah Plains. Hashid is also in charge of security in Mosul.
The concern: who is actually in charge? The brokered deal firmly embeds the militia in the homeland of Christians, a disconcerting movement due to war crimes and human rights abuses.
Guilty by association
This latest development sent up alarms from Iraq’s believers, says Samuel of Redemptive Stories. “The Evangelical Church is facing backlash from both the Shia and Sunni parts of the parliamentary government, as well as the established traditional church. Most of it relates to the classic ‘guilty by association’ scenarios that often play out.”
Samuel explains some believe that Christianity is a Western religion. “One of the ‘guilty by association’ aspects of our (Middle Eastern) culture is that Christians are very connected in the mindset of most Arabs with America and American politics. So they view the evangelical church as a sister to America.”
What’s more, speeches by U.S. politicians regarding Israel can create a fierce backlash against Christians, especially now. “They’re being accused of being very pro-Israel. And, in our part of the world (Middle East), it has a negative context, because it is anti-Arab, in their mindset. Because of that, the Evangelical Church, in particular in Iraq, is facing lots of increased persecution and scrutiny.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama