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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Iraqi Christian Who Fled ISIS: ‘Faith is All We Have Left’

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Jun 17
  • Comments

A young Iraqi man who had to flee from ISIS said that “Faith is all we have left that ISIS couldn’t take from us.”


According to, 20-year-old Sarmad Ozan was forced to flee the city of Mosul with his family when ISIS militants gained control of the city and forced all Christians to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or flee.


"Islamic State took our city, our churches, our houses and women were sold into slavery like an object," said Ozan, who told his story at a charity rally organized by Aid to the Church in Need in the U.K.


“We went from having a good healthy meal on our table every night to having to beg for food every day," he added.


Ozan and his family walked miles in the scorching desert sun to reach a church in Erbil. It was there that Ozan found out that he had been accepted to come to the U.K. to study engineering. 


He left his family to pursue his studies only to find out that his asylum application and scholarship had been withdrawn.


Ozan has not spoken to his family for over a year. "I miss them every day. I miss everything about my old life," he said


Although he misses his family and his old life, Ozan knows that he can’t go back and that it is safer in the U.K. 


“It should not be split along political or faith lines, it is our responsibility as human beings to fight persecution and provide for the refugees in the Mediterranean,” Ozan concluded.



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Publication date: June 17, 2016