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“Inside Washington” will equip you to do just that … with reports on the nation’s leaders and the decisions they’re considering … or have already made. We’ll examine the implications for the nation, and call you to specific prayer for those needs.
ISIS Issues Ultimatum
“Flee, convert to Islam, or be killed”
By Dr. Tom Askew
As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now controls the region of Amerli, threatening over 20,000 residents to “convert or be killed,” the United Nations warns of an inevitable “massacre” if the Iraqi government and the international community fail to take immediate action.
In their siege of Mosul, ISIS rebels killed over 150 Iraqi soldiers, 43 United Nations peacekeepers, and two American journalists: James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Brazenly circulating videos of their corpses, ISIS terrorists promise to do the same to any who resist their final takeover of northern Iraq. In addition, hundreds of civilians have been killed as well, especially Yazidi and Kurdish Christians.
Who is fighting whom, and why?
In the often troubled Middle East, it is easy to lose track of the groups engaged in seemingly constant conflict. Here is a quick reminder of who is involved and what is at stake:
The ISIS rebels are primarily Sunni Muslims. Many of their victims are Shiite Muslims, a separate branch of Islam. The Sunni faction is devoted to the establishment of Shariah (strict Muslim) law and obliterating efforts at establishing democracy in their region. They not only despise democracy and tolerance for other religions, but also demonize Americans and other westerners for attempting to bring liberty to the Mideast.
Speaking of ISIS, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a recent news briefing , “They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess … this is beyond anything we have seen, and we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely hard look at it and get ready.”
Muslims who oppose the Islamic State agenda are not their only victims, however. ISIS has been persecuting Christians and religious minorities such as the Yazidis in order to establish their Islamic Caliphate. More than a million people have fled their homes in Iraq alone, after being given the ultimatum by the group to convert to their radical form of Islam or be put to death. One report stated that hundreds of Yazidis had converted to Islam against their will in order to avoid death.
Next on their agenda?
ISIS forces now have their sights set farther east in Iraq. ISIS militants currently have the town of Amerli cut off from food, water, and medical supplies. The town is home to 18,000 Shi’ite Turkmen. Officials have begged British and American forces to intervene on their behalf before it is too late.
“There are children who are only eating once every three days,” Dr. Ali Albayati, who lives in the town, told the BBC. “It is a humanitarian disaster – 20,000 people in Amerli are fighting off death.”
Who is helping the Iraqis?
President Obama has ordered continuous, targeted airstrikes to help Kurdish forces battle the ISIS militants; the Kurds have been offering protection to the persecuted in the country.
“We are grateful to the men and women of the American armed forces who have carried out these decisive attacks against the terrorist forces of ISIS,” a statement from Kurdistan’s regional government has stated.
“Like Mr. Foley, several hundred innocent members of the Yazidi and Christian communities have been killed in the same manner,” Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of the regional government said in a statement. “There is no way to overstate the extent of this inhumanity, and it illustrates the true, dark nature of the terrorists that we are confronting.”
How shall you pray?
- If the ISIS rampage to force Shariah law on the entire region is to be stopped, pray for the pro-democracy efforts of Iraq’s new Shiite Prime Minister, Haider-al-Abadi, who is endeavoring to form a power-sharing government capable of fighting Islamic State militants.
- Pray for the humanitarian efforts by the current Iraqi government and others to provide food and shelter for the Syrian refugees and the minority Kurds, as they continue to flee the terrorists.
- Pray for wisdom for the United States and other western governments as they strategize a response to the ISIS jihad. ISIS has openly stated that their ultimate goal is to destroy all resistance to an Islamic state, not only in the Middle East, but elsewhere as well.
- Above all, pray for protection for the persecuted Christians and Jews who are targeted for destruction. May the God of Israel grant them deliverance and peace. May those who trust in Christ be valiant in their faith.
Dr. Tom Askew has been an educator in both public and private schools for over 40 years, in both the U.S. and overseas. He is currently doing educational consulting and instruction for Christian schools in Arizona.
The following expressions and comments are from our members and do not necessarily represent or reflect the biblical, world views or opinions of the Presidential Prayer Team
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