The April cover story for the “Lynx” magazine features an Iraqi student who at 21 determined to strike out for freedom, leaving behind his memories of religious and political oppression under Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Steven Ishak Darmo, an Assyrian Christian, competed for the opportunity to pursue his dream in the United States, winning sponsorship from the Global Youth Exchange Student program.
One might expect that the situation for Christians in Iraq had improved since Darmo’s experience and Hussein’s fall. But while the dictator has been removed, in fact, persecution of Christians has escalated in Iraq to the level of a purge since then.
My son, who is stationed in Baghdad with the U.S. Army, talks about an Iraqi Christian who interprets for his unit. She has to hide her name, he says. Persecution is especially bad in western Baghdad.
Easter is a good time to remember that while we enjoy the freedom to worship or not as we will in the U.S., many who share our various faiths are still experiencing persecution in other parts of the world. While human rights organizations lobby for freedoms across the world, let’s not forget the dire circumstances of the Assyrian Christians in a land we have “liberated.”