Faiez* is angry and traumatised. He can’t believe that they really lost everything. He, his wife Hawwa and their four young children fled Mosul after the Islamic State (ISIS) threatened to kill every Christian that wouldn’t convert to Islam or pay a high tax. At the checkpoint the Islamic State took everything from them but their clothes. They even took their 9-year-old son’s 10p pocket money.
“My son was crying and shouting the whole time he didn’t see me, he thought he would never see me again.”
Hawwa was searched by another woman. “The only thing I could see were her eyes,” she says. “She treated me badly, checked all the places I could have hidden something of value.” The couple had some other relatives with them. One of Hawwa’s teenage relatives had her skirt torn off because it was deemed too tight. “They ripped it off her body, in front of all the women. She hasn’t stopped crying since.”
Another relative was forced to give up her wedding ring. “The veiled lady asked for a metal cutter,” Hawwa recalls. “Fortunately she got it off herself before the cutter arrived, otherwise she wouldn’t only have lost her ring, but also her finger.”
Having been robbed of all their possessions, they were forced to walk out of the Mosul area. A taxi brought them to the next village, where the villagers paid for the ride and kindly helped them.
For a few days now Faiez and his family have been living in a house that is owned by the village church. They are thankful that the village and the church are taking such good care of them. Working with local partners Open Doors is supporting the church to help this family and 3000 other families with essential items such as food, water, medicine and blankets. “Through the church you helped us with mattresses and food baskets,” says Faiez. “I am thankful, but still, today I got this food basket. Probably I will receive another one in some time, but what’s my future? What is the future of my children?”
With the help of Open Doors, partner organisations in predominantly Christian villages and towns are generously supporting everyone who asks for their help, both Muslims and Christians. As the need keeps growing, so does the relief programme. One Muslim family in a town visited by Open Doors fieldworkers could not stop expressing how grateful they were that the church was taking care of them, too. “We will never forget what you’ve done for us,” they said.
*No real names are used.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.