We read the headlines of Islamist terrorists taking over a city in Iraq. What that means for Christians in Iraq became a reality for Knapp when he began to get to know Iraqi refugees who had moved into his Leipzig neighborhood beginning in 2014. He shares here the stories of many as well as his own visit to Ankawa and the refugee camp.
I was shocked, as was Knapp, when he heard the stories of those having to flee Mosul. Terrorists overran the city in June of 2014. Christians were given an ultimatum, convert, pay a tax or leave. He writes, “...there is no place for Christians under IS's black banner.” (Loc 120/2695) Christians had flourished there for 1600 years but were now forced to flee to Syria. There may be no Christians in the city now as it has been declared a “Christian-free” zone by the Islamic State.
I was appalled at the suffering Christians had to experience as a result of the U.S. and British invasion of 2003. “In response to the American invasion of Iraq, Muslim clerics called for a holy war.” (Loc 189/2695) Western countries were associated with Christianity and Christians in Iraq were the ones who suffered the attacks.
The personal stories Knapp has included are heart breaking. Yet the global community has not risen to protect Christians in Islamic states. He shows that this has often been the case historically. The brutal treatment of Christians in the Middle East over the centuries has been generally ignored. Knapp spends quite some time on the Armenian Genocide of 1915, a topic Turkey would like to see erased.
I highly recommend this book. It will be shocking to those who have not paid attention to the persecution of Iraqi Christians, particularly those in Mosul. It will be enlightening to those who have opposed Syrian Christians entering the U.S. as refugees. It will bring to light the human tragedy that has caused those Christians to seek asylum.
You will receive insight into the history of Christian persecution as well. It is not a pretty story. Body mutilations and repeated rapes do not make for easy reading. The first hand accounts of such atrocities still happening today are difficult and shocking but they cannot be ignored. They are clear evidence of a Christian faith worth dying for.
You can find out more about the book, watch a trailer and read a sample here.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Andreas Knapp left his position as head of Freiburg Seminary to work among the poor. He is a member of the Little Brothers of the Gospel, a religious order inspired by Charles de Foucauld.
Plough Publishing House, 233 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.