Iraqi Christians Fear for Missing Pastor
Iraqi Christians are worried about the safety of a house church leader who was recently kidnapped, apparently because he has led Muslims to Christ. According to Release International partners, Pastor Jamal was seized by suspected militants who broke into his house in Dehouk. His family believes he was targeted because of his work among the Shabak people who speak Arabic and Kurdish. Religious rights group The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) Australia reports that one of the people whom Pastor Jamal led to Christ had his home sprayed with machine-gun fire a few weeks ago. Some fear that the militants may kill Pastor Jamal immediately rather than demand a ransom for his release. VOM Australia says the group may have links with al-Qaeda. Despite ongoing threats to Iraqi Christians from militant groups, hundreds turned out recently to celebrate the opening of a new church near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. St Paul's Church in Sikanayan village will serve displaced Christians who have settled in the area after fleeing persecution.