Sunday, 17 August 2014

Why I'm ن

A phenomenon has spread across the social sphere in recent weeks with profile pictures being replaced by an arabic symbol. For me, profile pictures are for pictures of you but I have added the sign to the end of my name on social. This is why.

After Western powers withdrew from the conflict in Iraq, the country fell into tension between the two factions of Islam in the country. An extremist Islamic group named Islamic State (IS) swept through the country - from the areas of Syria that were already under their control - and in June reached the Christian city of Mosul in Iraq.

Mosul was thought to have one of the most ancient Christian civilisations in the world but that is no more. Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Christian population in Mosul was 60,000 but by June this has dropped to 35,000. Now it is void of Christians thanks to their treatment by IS.

As reported by BBC, Christians in the city were given an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay the jizya (a protection tax, often unpayable by the average citizen) or die.  Homes of Christians have been branded with the letter n for 'Nassarah', the word in the Qur'an used for Christians. Many have fled to nearby countries, are in hiding or have indeed been "put to the sword" by IS.

Although Western powers are helping with aid and considering military action, the main thing this group of Christians needs is support in prayer. Those that refuse to convert do so with the knowledge of God's bigger picture, that this present suffering will pale in comparison to what's to come. They have the hope of eternity in their hearts but need God's peace and comfort to endure this horrible time of persecution.

The ن in my social profile names is a public promise to give my support to these people in prayer. Just as the Christians in Iraq have been branded with this as a sign of contempt to signal out followers of Christ, I will wear it with pride as a follower of Christ.