Alliance Justice and Compassion resources and promotes the local and global ministries of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada that seek to bring wholeness and well-being to people made vulnerable by circumstances of poverty, disaster, and injustice. May the stories and thoughts inspire the reader to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Convert, Pay or Be Killed"

Our sister church in Erbil providing relief to the displaced
The horrific stories coming out of Iraq in the last few weeks is heartwrenching. In Mosul, a city in northern Iraq, now controlled by a militant extremist group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) announced that Christians should convert, pay hefty taxes or else face execution. This is an area of Iraq where these Christians have lived for over 1,700 years. In the end, the second option was revoked and all Christians were forced to flee the city. Most Christians who fled were stopped at checkpoints by militants who confiscated their cars and anything of value they were carrying including money, jewelry, mobile phones - even passports. They had to continue their journey on foot. (It is important to note that it is not only the Christians but other minority faith groups as well.)

The Christians were ordered to leave all property behind, as homes were marked with the Arabic letter 'N' for Nasrani or Nazarenes - an Arabic word for Christian. The extremists intend it as a mark of shame but now many Christians around the world are identifying with it in an act of solidarity with the persecuted!

Last week the Justice and Compassion office received a phone call from an Iraqi man who lives in Toronto.  He had just heard from his family who, to his relief had made it out alive but had lost everything as they had experienced the humiliating reality of one of these checkpoints. He asked that churches in Canada would pray for his family and others suffering in this crisis. He also pleaded for assistance to help his family get to safety here in Canada. Hearing the emotion in the voice of the brother/son of a family who had experienced this tragedy brought the magnitude of this atrocity to life.  

We are in dialogue with Alliance World Fellowship President, Arie Verduijn who is in contact with our sister church in Erbil, the Iraqi city where many have fled. The church leaders have indicated that they are very grateful for prayers and forthcoming financial assistance. They are seeking to help as many as they can who have arrived on their doorstep - literally with nothing!

So what can Canadians do?  

We can pray!! 
  • Pray that Christians in Iraq, and especially from the Mosul area, will know the peace of Jesus, guidance of the Spirit and provisions from the Father.
  • Pray that the displaced families will find sanctuary and that humanitarian assistance would reach all who are in need.
  • Pray that peace will be restored and that those displaced, including other faith minorities, would be able to return to their towns.
  • Pray for the many churches in the region that are assisting those who are displaced; specifically our Alliance World Fellowship sister churches that we will be supporting.
We can give!!
  • We will respond by supporting relief efforts through our partnership with Alliance World Fellowship.  Donations can be given through a local Canadian Alliance church, directly to the National Ministry Centre, or on-line.  Donations should be designated to the C&MA's Global Emergency Response Fund.  
We can consider refugee sponsorship!!  
  • We will inform our family of churches if the Canadian Government issues a special refugee sponsorship allocations in response to this crisis.


  1. Hi. My name is Eric and I am about to go on a journey with my church (living waters) in possibly helping and aiding missionaries who are about to go over seas. It's stories like this that makes me want to help make a difference and God has given me a huge passion for self-defence and martial arts and I believe he has lead me to this point for a reason. Sure martial arts is good for physical attacks but it's also good for mental and emotional well-being and keeping an individual alert. The plan is to do research on the areas of which the individual is going to, find out the dangers and hazards and if necessary teach them efficient techniques to help defend them selves and their families or friends. Hopefully when in a situation this will be used as a last resort as martial arts teaches someone and gives confidence to use their words first to diffuse a situation. Please pray for me while I am figuring out the details and trying to make more connections to make this possible! Thank you.

  2. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, please pray for guidance for Prime Minister Harper's compassion for all Canadians and pray that he contact President el-Sisi and Justice Minister Saber of Egypt to release the journalist Fahmi from the clutches of evil.