Three Christian Kurds have been fatally shot in northern Iraq. A former soldier with a Kurdish military, a government worker and a car mechanic were all targeted by gunmen on motorcycles.
Mission Network News partner Peter Smith revealed the victims were known in their community as Ishmael, Omar, and Mohammed who were recognised for their work sharing the Gospel and discipling new believers – on both the Iraqi and Iranian sides of what’s known as the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.
“They were just average people living out their life in Kurdistan. Yet, at the same time, what set them apart was that 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,” Mr. Smith said.
Questions remain over whether the murders were part of a political assassination plot, despite none of the three victims being known as politically active.
The shootings have sent shockwaves through the Kurdish Christian community with many believing the victims were executed for their faith, and fearing they could be the next target.
Mr. Smith says Christian ministries in the region have tried to mobilise prayer and financial support for the victims’ widows and children, “but also for the greater Christian community. They’re in shock because now they’re thinking, ‘If these three key faith leaders were killed, what will happen to me?’”
“We’re also praying that the local Christians will have a spirit of boldness that will not allow this fear of death to scare them. You know, it’s easy to say that halfway around the world. If I were in that situation, what would I do?” Mr. Smith queried while adding that he’s hoping Christians everywhere will be led by the Lord to pray for their Kurdish brothers and sisters in Christ.