Christian communities throughout the Middle East are being decimated by ISIS and other terror groups, who are forcing them to flee, convert, or face instant, brutal death. This month, we introduce you to some of these brave Christians as we launch our new initiative to Rescue the Persecuted.
For 36 years, Najat, 80, was a respected lecturer of Greek philosophy at a Baghdad university. She is also “mother” to her two nieces, both intellectually disabled, and her nephew, who is severely intellectually disabled, after their parents passed away over 30 years ago.
All of their lives were destroyed one fateful night in 2016, reducing the family to penniless refugees.
“The doorbell rang and two Islamic State soldiers barged into the house,” Najat says with tears in her eyes. “They wanted to take my nephew, put explosives on him, and make him a suicide bomber.”
“I cried and cried, begging them to leave us alone,” Najat remembers. “They left, but I knew they would be back. I went to my priest. He told me that ISIS hates Christians and if he helped me they would kill him. I knew then that we had to leave.”
Najat and her family arrived in Amman, Jordan, with only the clothes on their backs. Father Khalil Jaar took them in, as he did for hundreds of Iraqi Christian refugees. “We were all in shock, living at the church, not knowing how we would get by from one day to the next” says Najat sadly. “We applied for resettlement with the U.N. and have been waiting for 18 months to leave.”
Father Khalil found makeshift shelter for the family in a dilapidated basement apartment with no windows and only one bed. The paint is peeling and the smell of mold and dampness is suffocating. The kitchen is covered in dirt.
Iraqi Christian refugees do not have permission to work in Jordan. They are not entitled to any social services or medical coverage. Najat and her family are completely dependent on the welfare of humanitarian aid organizations.
“I am old and sick and tired,” cries Najat. “I cannot believe that this is how I have been reduced to living at the end of my life.”
“We are not able to work. I do not let my nieces (now in their late 50s) go out for fear that something will happen to them. My nephew sits on the couch all day, shouting erratically, lost in his own world.”
The family sleeps and watches television. They are in complete limbo, hoping against all hope that they will be resettled one day in Canada, Australia, or the United States.