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A Kurdish Christian taxi driver, Ziwar Mohamad Ismaeel, was shot dead February 17 in the city of Zakho in the Kurdistan region of Iraq when he refused to deny Christ.

Ziwar came to faith in Christ seven years ago and was very open about his faith. Several times he had received threats on his life. "With Jesus on my side, I have nothing to fear," he told friends. "Even when they kill me, I will never deny Christ." After his conversion, the local Muslim mullah advised his family that he should be killed as an apostate. He was taken captive by relatives who threatened to kill him if he did not recant. He refused and was rescued by friends. He had been arrested twice in recent years in connection with his faith but was never charged. Last June, after having been arrested again for two weeks, he lost his job and started working as a cab driver.

Apparently, on Monday, he received a call from a client. Sitting down with a cup of tea, the client asked him to renounce his faith and return to Islam. When Ziwar refused, the man shot him 28 times with a machine gun shouting, "Allah u Akbar!" Other taxi drivers reportedly apprehended his assassin after the shooting. Ziwar was married with five children. According to a report from Open Doors on February 20, his family had refused to claim his body and bury him.

Pray for Ziwar's wife and children during this time of grief. Pray for the family members who have opposed him. Pray that he will continue to be a testimony, both through his life and now his death.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC is partnering to teach and equip persecuted Christian women sewing skills so that they can provide a sustainable source of income for their families and give them the opportunity to be witnesses for Christ through their new businesses. VOMC partners to provide biblical training on discipleship and the theology of persecution to Muslim Background Believers.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Equipping the Saints, Underground Church

Country Information

Population
39,650,145 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Arab (75-80), Kurdish (15-20), Turkoman, Assyrian, and other (5)

Religion (%)
Islam (95-98), Christianity (1), other (1-4)

Leader
President Barham Salih (2018)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system

Mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Iraq

Pray for the protection of the remaining believers in Iraq during this time of upheaval and danger. May many churches and Christian relief organizations seize the opportunity to provide greatly needed assistance and ministry to the numerous suffering people of this war-torn nation. As God’s work of healing, provision and restoration takes place, pray that a stable democratic government will be established.

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