"BAGHDAD – An 85-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree stands erected in Baghdad as a symbol of solidarity with Christians this holiday season, says the Muslim businessman who built it.
Yassi Saad said he wanted to put the tallest tree in the Iraqi city with the aim at “joining our Christian brothers in their holiday celebrations and helping Iraqis forget their anguish, especially the war in Mosul.”
The tree, with a diameter of 33 feet, was erected in the center of an amusement part in the Iraqi capital. Saad said the initiative cost around $24,000.
Iraq's Christian community has steadily dwindled since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Christians have been targeted by Islamic extremists on several occasions, and have also fled the country for better economic opportunities.
Thousands of Christians fled Mosul and surrounding areas when IS swept across northern Iraq in the summer of 2014. The extremist group forces Christians to convert to Islam or pay a special tax, and often confiscates their property.
Some Christians have managed to return to villages outside of Mosul that have been retaken by Iraqi forces, only to find that their homes and churches have been ransacked.".......
Related--CNS: "So often concern for Christians is minimized. I am so happy, because you are the first American who has come to just ask about the Christians. We pray that President Trump will help us. We are the last people to speak the Aramaic language. Without help, we are finished.”
Psalm 119:114 "You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."
CHRISTMAS UPDATE: "Tendayi moved from Zimbabwe to Chicago with her husband about 19 years ago. The couple never had any children of their own, but as Tendayi says, "I do now. I do have a lot."
Tendayi was hired to work in the hospital cafeteria 18 years ago. While she makes a humble living from her job, Tendayi has set up a savings account which sets aside money every month for her toy shopping spree at the end of the year.".......
"For me, it's a blessing. When God puts this in your heart, you don't get tired."