SYRIA UPDATE: Worsening Plight of Christians in Syria
Previous posts have highlighted the worsening plight of Christians caught up in the current political unrest in Syria. Here is some information, taken from a UK blog [link below], on the situation to date. Links to other web pages of interest are also given.
'Both the Barnabas Fund and Open Doors have been busy highlighting the plight of Christians in Syria over the last week. Their situation is becoming increasingly desperate. According to Barnabas Fund [link below] who have partners on the ground there, the city of Homs, the third largest in Syria, has now seen almost its entire Christian population of 50,000 to 60,000 flee for safety as fighting continues in the stricken country.
As the fighting has continued Christians, who make up about 10% of the population have found themselves caught in the middle. The BBC reports [link below], that Christians in the past have enjoyed a relatively high degree of religious tolerance and ability to worship freely. But this has now changed dramatically. They are generally seen to be pro-Assad because he has assured them that their future is more secure with him in power.
This has led to opposition forces attacking churches. Church leaders have reported Muslim neighbors turning on the Christians, and that Muslim extremists from other countries have been coming to Homs to join the fighting. Christians have also suffered kidnappings and gruesome murders. Some Christian families , unable to pay a ransom for their relatives’ release and fearing that they may be tortured, have been driven to ask the kidnappers to kill their loved ones at once [according to the Barnabus Fund, UK; link below]. Open Doors have posted this message on their Facebook page:
“What’s it like for Christians in Syria? The uncertain future could lead to an exodus of Christians from Syria – in the way that many Christians fled Iraq. “In Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Christians left that country due to all the violence targeting them. But where will a Syrian exodus lead to? Which country will welcome hundreds of thousands of Christian refugees? What is the free world doing… to prepare for that exodus?” asks one believer. The churches in Syria know very well what happened to Iraqi Christians. “They were in many countries not really welcome, so we are afraid that the same will happen to Syrian refugees and that would be a disaster,” he says.'
Statement from the Barnabus Fund
'Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:
I have just returned from meeting Syrian church leaders, and I am more than ever convinced that our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria need our help. The dark days of the Middle Ages when many churches were burned and Christians slaughtered in the region are threatening to return, endangering the very existence of the churches in this land that has had a Christian presence for almost 2,000 years.'
'For protection for all the people of Homs and in other parts of Syria who are caught up in the conflict, and that humanitarian aid will reach them.'
For the Christians displaced from their homes or in danger of attack, that God will protect them and meet their needs.
For an end to the violence and for peace and stability to be restored.'
That world leaders would 'have wisdom to know how to respond to the Syrian crisis.'
Text and pray requests , except Barnabus Fund statement, from http://godandpoliticsuk.org/2012/04/...ians-in-syria/
Further information cited in text:
Barnabus Fund statement from: http://barnabasfund.org/UK/News/Late...s-survive.html
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.