|Christian Church in Mosul Iraq|
The woman, who is only referred to by the name "Maryam" for security purposes, told the churchgoers not to pray for the persecution to stop, because all the atrocities are part of God's plan.
Maryam recalled how her father was imprisoned because a Muslim who assaulted him and threatened their lives had wrongfully accused him. She also described how Muslim men physically assaulted her while she was on her way to the airport just because she did not cover her hair.
For Maryam and other Christians in the Middle East, persecution is necessary for the Church to continue growing in the region. She explained that while radical Muslims are committing crimes against Christians and other religious groups, there are also others who are starting to question their own religion. Now, there are more than a million converts in her country who come from Muslim backgrounds.
"So, I want to encourage you that, of course, you need to pray for your brothers and sisters in the Middle East who are suffering for being Christians and for their faith, but I am asking you to pray a different prayer," Maryam told the American congregants. "Don't pray for the persecution to be stopped. ... But pray for the Christians there, for their boldness, their encouragement, for their faith and that they can all be witnesses for God's work and for God."
In an exclusive interview with the Express, a priest who endured torture at the hands of his jailers in Egypt said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is not the real threat to believers. Rev. Majed El Shafie said the problem lies in the Muslim extremists' ideology.
In light of the current situation, Rev. Shafie highlighted the need to focus more on education. He also urged the moderate Muslims to end their silence and finally speak up about the persecution of Christians by the extremists.