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Rafah Toma Alkass Butras (2011) - Hostage Pursued

Rafah Toma Alkass Butras (2011) - Hostage Pursued


My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:2

Just over two months after Rafah, an Iraqi Christian woman, had survived a deadly hostage siege on a church in Baghdad, she was killed in her bed by terrorists who broke into her home as she slept in the early hours of 3 January 2011.

Rafah (44), who lived alone in central Baghdad, had refused to leave the Iraqi capital after the church massacre on 31 October 2010, despite the appeals of her elderly father. She was one of around 100 worshippers who were taken hostage by terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda during an evening service at the Baghdad church; over 50 people were killed in the ensuing siege.

Rafah lost her 27-year-old cousin in the attack and had returned to the scene of his murder every other day to mourn. She said, “I am attached to this place… I feel like my soul is in this place with them.”

Rafah’s murder came amid a wave of attacks on Iraqi Christians in their homes and workplaces following the church siege.

Father, I see there is no escape from the groan that arises in our soul because of the suffering sin has brought into the universe. Help me enter into it and use it to whet my appetite for heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Selwyn Hughes (1928-2006)


Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life

Photo by Eagle Media Pro on Unsplash


Rafah Toma Alkass Butras (2011) - Hostage Pursued

Originally appeared on Isaac Publishing


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