Music Fans Rally Up 9,000 Bibles for Iraq's Persecuted Christians

A British Christian radio station announced Tuesday that its listeners have donated about $88,425 to send some 9,000 local language Bibles for Iraqi Christians after only three weeks since the launch of its partnership with Open Doors U.K.

London-based Premier Radio – who designated Open Doors as its Charity of the Year – had asked its listeners to help raise money to send Bibles to Christian believers in Iraq at the request of Open Doors.

"Iraq is on the edge of civil war and Kurdistan is the only area where the situation is improving," said Premier's chief executive, Peter Kerridge, in a released statement. "As fellow believers, we must support the beginnings of a Christian community in Kurdistan every way we can."

Open Doors U.K. reported news that small groups of Christian converts are emerging in villages in Kurdistan in northern Iraq where most of the Christian population exist.

"These Christians worship in local Kurdish languages, mainly Sorani and Bahdinani, but there is little literature available in these languages," explained Eddie Lyle, CEO of Open Doors U.K. to Premier Radio.

Meanwhile, the situation for most Christians in Iraq is far from improving.

The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) has called the plight of Iraq's Christian minority – which make up only three percent of Iraq's 26 million population – a humanitarian crisis with Christians composing nearly half of the refugees fleeing Iraq. Christians have increasingly been the target of violence including robbery of shop owners and kidnaps for ransom incidents.

Recently, USCIRF (United States Commission on International Religious Freedom) urged the U.S. government to take more decisive action regarding Iraq's escalating refugee problem.

Premier Radio will continue to promote Open Doors' projects throughout 2007, including Open Doors first-ever Great Big Tea Party and Open Doors Week in June.

"This is just the beginning of our year long campaign to support persecuted Christians across the globe through Open Doors," said Premier's Kerridge. "There is still much more work to be done in the Middle East and beyond."

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