Date: September 18, 2023
Iraq (MNN) — Three Christians were gunned down by motorcyclists in Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous federal region of northern Iraq.
Ishmael, Omar, and Mohammed were known in the community for their work sharing the Gospel and discipling new believers – both on the Iraq side and the Persian side of Kurdistan.
However, there are questions as to whether this was a religious or political assassination. The investigation is ongoing.
Peter Smith, a Mission Network News partner, says these faithful believers came from very different backgrounds – a former Kurdish military member, a government worker, and a car mechanic.
“They were just average people living out their life in Kurdistan. Yet, at the same time, what set them apart was they were willing to take a stand for Christ. They were willing to help train others to understand what the Scriptures say. I would not be surprised if they were also involved with getting Bibles to people who needed Scriptures.”
Ishmael, Omar, and Mohammed all leave behind families. Smith says, “What we’ve tried to do is to mobilize prayer and financial support for the widows and for the children.
“But also for the greater Christian community, they’re in shock because now they’re thinking, ‘If these three key leaders were killed, what will happen to me?'”
Pray comfort for the grieving Kurdish Church.
“We’re also praying that the local Christians will have a spirit of boldness that should not allow this fear of death to scare them,” Smith says, “You know, it’s easy to say that halfway around the world. If I were in that situation, what would I do? But I’m hoping your listeners will be led by the Lord to pray.”
Header photo: The Kurdish flag flies high above Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. (Caption, photo courtesy of Levi Meir Clancy/Unsplash)