As many of you know, I watch a great deal of news. However, I want to share with you a tragic story that I did not see on MSNBC, ABC, the New York Times or the Washington Post. I found out about it through Middle East sources. My Jewish and Christian friends probably do not know about this. My Shia Muslim friends do. And they are grieving– yet again.
In a football (soccer) stadium in the ancient city of Isksnderiyyah, Iraq (named for Alexander the Great — who travelled through), an ISIS suicide bomber killed about 41 people — most of them Shia Muslims and many of them children. This occurred on Thursday night. Thursday nights in Iraq are big family nights. Families go to soccer games on that night which is before Friday Prayers (Jummah). For Iraqis, Thursday night is similar to American Saturday nights.
Shia Muslims in Iraq are, unfortunately, used to this. If you have Iraqi friends here in the USA, chances are that they probably know sone of the families affected. If you do, reach out to them.
This newest Iraqi tragedy is, unfortunately , overshadowed by the bombing in Brussels. We all need to know that this violence in Iraq has been occurring to Shia Muslims for a long, long, time. In fact, since the Crusades of the 11th century.
Shia Muslims in both Syria and Iraq have suffered under ISIS more than any other ethnic and religious group in the ISIS terror.
I share this because Iraqis are no different than we are. The only difference is that tragedy is a daily occurrence.
In 2009, I was pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach. We had the joy of welcoming a Shia Muslim family to Virginia Beach. After their first year here, I asked them what surprised them most about Americans. The mother of the family was quick to answer . She said, “I was surprised to see how much like Iraqis you Americans are. You love your children as do we. You love your families as do we. You laugh and cry as do we. ”
Today, Iraqis are crying. If you go to Church tomorrow on Easter Sunday, say a prayer for Iraq and Iraqis. Also, if you feel so moved by God, use my Facebook page to express your condolences to our Shia Muslim friends. I have many Muslim friends on Facebook. They will see and appreciate your expressions.
May God bring us peace.