Future Bright for Bible Society in Iraq as Legal Status is Granted

The Kurdistan Regional Government has officially permitted the Christian charity, the Bible Society, to function legally within its borders.

It is a breakthrough for the Bible Society which operates in Iraq including the Kurdistan region. The permit will allow them to open an office and go about their business of making the Bible's message easily available.

Kurdistan is a self-governing region in Iraq with its own prime minister and parliament. It is considered a safe haven for the Christian minority who make up only one per cent of the Iraqi population.

The official permit was handed to Nabil Omeish, Programme Coordinator for the work of Bible Society in Iraq. This comes after months of visits to government offices and officials.

He said the application for the permit had received a major boost from the first ever distribution of 20,000 Scripture calendars in Kurdish last December. Many of the calendars made their way to the desks of government officials - an indicator of the strong impact the Bible Society has in the region.

Meanwhile, the Bible Society continues to operate from its office and warehouse in Baghdad. It is hoped that a new branch in the relatively secure northern region will strengthen its mission and prove effective for the Bible cause.

Mike Bassous, General Secretary of the Bible Society in Lebanon, who is also responsible for the work in Iraq, said: "It is very important that we translate this official approval into action."

He added, "This is something we can do by opening a branch in the Kurdish region to strengthen our work among the Kurdish Church."

Ian Mckay Bible Society's International Director said, "This permit is great news for Christians in Kurdistan and is a great encouragement for the team who face considerable challenges."