Iraqi schoolgirl Myriam, whose message of forgiveness for ISIS ‘captured millions of hearts’ when it went viral, urges Christians to pray and bring hope to refugee children. SAT-7 documentary Sequel of Hope broadcasts her family’s message of hope after returning to their hometown of Qaraqosh.
The world has changed since the testimony of 9-year-old Myriam went viral in 2014. In an interview with SAT-7 Producer and Director Essam Nagy, she inspired audiences around the world when she forgave ISIS for displacing her from her home in Qaraqosh, Iraq, forcing her to leave everything she knew for a refugee camp in Kurdistan. Myriam said she found comfort and strength in watching SAT-7’s children’s TV shows in the camp – programs that helped her grow in her faith and extend forgiveness to ISIS.
There are millions of Middle Eastern children like Myriam and her sister Zomorod. According to UNICEF, the United Nations children’s fund, 17 million children were displaced by conflict within their own country in 2017, and 13 million more children were forced to flee to other countries for refuge. And perhaps because of the magnanimity of the crisis, Myriam and Zomorod’s story is no less remarkable or critical to the future of the region.
Watch the highlight video below, which gives an update on Myriam and her family and shares a message of hope in the midst of adversity.
Watch full 30-minute documentary on YouTube here.
In 2014, there were three prayers on the heart of young Myriam and God has miraculously answered all of them:
Having grown up watching SAT-7, and even appearing as a guest on her favorite kids’ show over Skype, Myriam is touched that Director Essam Nagy and his wife, Magdoline, felt for her and cared about her family’s plight. After several years of keeping in touch through prayers, calls, and encouragement, they were overjoyed to be reunited.
Myriam’s mother Alice reflects on witnessing the destruction of their hometown upon return: “At first I saw everything in our house was turned upside down. Then, I saw other people’s homes were burnt, destroyed, robbed. We were in shock to see all the efforts of our life’s work overturned in one day. Homes they’ve had 50 years and in one moment, destroyed or burned.” Homes and churches in Qaraqosh that hadn’t been demolished by rockets or burned to the ground were looted and still bear bullet holes in the walls. At a local building in Qaraqosh, militants shot a mural of Jesus, and spray painted graffiti on a church reading “The ISIS caliphate shall remain forever.”
Myriam’s family returned to find their home looted and in disarray, all the while thanking God that the family Bible and structure were otherwise intact. And as Myriam says, the hearts of the Iraqi people do not reside in buildings. She says, “Look, it’s not about the house. It’s about what you feel in your heart. It’s that God is always protecting and you can just count on him.”
When asked if she still forgives ISIS, Myriam says, “Of course I forgive them, like I told you. I love Qaraqosh. It’s where I was born and studied during my childhood. But the more important thing is that I love to see people believing in God.”
In a town that was once relegated to an insurgent holdout, Iraqis are rebuilding their lives. They are triumphant in the hope and healing of life in Christ.
In response to Myriam’s story, would you take a moment to pray and consider how you may support ministries carrying the life-changing truth of the Gospel to the ends of the earth?
Stories like Myriam’s are possible because of your generous support. One opportunity to make a difference in the Middle East and North Africa is to Sponsor a Day of SAT-7 broadcasts. Learn more how you or your church can get involved here. We are grateful for you!