A circulating message, which purports to be from Christian support organization Open Doors, claims that there is a serious threat that all Christians in Northern Iraq may be beheaded within hours and calls for ‘urgent prayer backing’ to help those in danger.
The message did not come from Open Doors as claimed. While the organization does encourage more prayer for Iraq, it notes in a public statement that it has not verified the claims in the message and did not send it.
A message that is circulating rapidly via SMS, email, and social media calls for ‘urgent prayer backing’ to assist Christians in Northern Iraq.
According to the message, all Christians in the region face the threat of beheading within a few hours.
The message claims to have been sent by Open Doors, a Christian organization that offers various types of support for persecuted Christians around the world.
Christians – and those of other faiths – in Iraq are indeed in great danger from members of the violent and ruthless militant group ISIS. And, Open Doors is working in the region. However, the message does not come from Open Doors as claimed.
The organization posted the following notice on its website:
We have not contacted our supporters or the wider community with this information, nor can we verify it.
The text was not sent from Open Doors, we are, however, encouraging more prayer for Iraq!
And, a post on the group’s Facebook Page confirms the notice:
We have been informed that an “Urgent text from Open Doors” is going around Facebook containing false information about Christians in danger of beheading in Northern Iraq.
This text is NOT from Open Doors, it is a hoax.
We have no confirmation of this information, and are currently looking into it. We ask that you continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Iraq.
The message does not contain a specific date, and just lists a time frame of ‘in a few hours’. Given that, at the time of writing, the message had already been circulating for several days, this time frame has little relevance.
Of course, whether or not you believe that prayer can actually help persecuted minorities in Iraq against violent thugs with guns is clearly a matter of personal faith. But, even if you do, be aware that this circulating ‘urgent’ prayer request for Iraq misrepresents itself and contains inaccurate information.