This past March marked the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. When the dust from the invasion appeared to have settled, an insurgency more powerful than the invasion whipped through Iraq, its turbulence destroying what remained. Anarchy reigned and those powerless to defend themselves were its victims. Everything changed for Iraq’s Christians. Today, fewer than 300,000 Christians remain, but they live in the north after fleeing their homes in Baghdad. This past Easter, many of the faithful attended liturgies in churches protected by armed guards.
But those are the ones who stayed. About 700,000 Christians (or 70 percent of the prewar number of Christians in Iraq) were forced to leave their homeland. Among them was a young Christian woman named Jasmine. Her story reflects the stories of thousands of Christians who are now living in limbo and need a sign of hope.
I met Jasmine last year. She had been living in Jordanian capital of Amman with her mother and two sisters after fleeing Iraq in October of 2011.
Extremists demanded she convert to Islam. They laughed at her for being Christian. They harassed her sisters, who are mentally challenged. Jasmine’s father died five years ago. The family is poor and her mother is sick — but Jasmine eventually saved enough money to move them to safety in Jordan.
Now Jasmine and her family are scraping by in a poor slum. The family dreams of moving one day to North America. As with so many other refugees, she is awaiting resettlement for a new life. But the process has been prolonged and even put on hold due to the war in Syria.
It is a harsh life, but she still has hope, thanks to CNEWA, which provides families such as Jasmine’s with food, shelter, medicine and pastoral care — enabling her family and many others to live in dignity in such tough conditions.
This can only be done with your generous support.
Many more families need help. Your prayers and sacrifices are very much needed.