Four national Christian Bible translators were killed when Islamic militants raided the office of Wycliffe Associates in the Middle East, the Christian organization confirmed in a report released on 20 March.
The attackers sprayed bullets around the office, shooting and killing two of the translators, injuring several more, and destroying the office equipment. Then, with their spent weapons, they bludgeoned to death two other translators who had leapt on top of the lead translator, saving his life.
“The invaders burned all the books and other translation materials in the office,” read the statement. The Christian translation team is praising God that the hard drives containing the translation work for eight language projects was preserved.
Undeterred, “the remaining translation team has decided to re-double their efforts to translate, publish, and print God’s Word for these eight language communities,” the organization announced in its statement.
Christian communities have lived in the Middle East for 2,000 years, but today their presence is rapidly diminishing as they flee the threat of targeted violence. Christians and other minorities are being killed, forcibly converted, enslaved, and driven from their homes by Islamic State (IS) militants.
On 17 March, US Secretary of State John Kerry labelled IS atrocities in the Middle East “genocidal”, saying: “The fact is that [IS] kills Christians because they are Christians, Yazidis because they are Yazidis, Shia because they are Shia.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, however, said there was “no need” to reconsider calling IS atrocities in the Middle East genocide.