Peaceful co-existence among Syria’s religious communities has disappeared since the beginning of the war, states Congressman Chris Smith. He also warned that religious minorities were being killed and persecuted at an alarming rate.
Christians are being threatened into supporting the opposition and churches are being desecrated in civil war-ravaged Syria.
“Before the war, Syria was a fairly pluralistic society, with Alawites, Shias, Ismalis, Yezidis, Druze, Christians, Jews, and Sunnis living in relative peace, side by side,” said Congressman Smith.
“The situation was far from perfect, as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime had a vast security apparatus in place with members inside each of the religious communities to monitor their activities.”
“The Assad government was guilty of serious human rights violations, including the summary imprisonment and execution of political opponents. But relations between the various religious groups were generally not violent. That civil co-existence has ended with the war.”
It was reported by Thomas Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, that many Christians had their lives threatened if they did not join the opposition.
“Christians have been driven from their homes and killed en masse as presumed supporters of the regime,” he said. Melia added there there is increased lawlessness in northern areas with regular kidnappings, rapes and looting. He referred to the kidnapping of Syrian Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Archbishop, Paul Yazigi, who still remain missing.
The Deaths of Christians did not appear to be collateral damage but the result of deliberate attacks, stated De John Eibner, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity International.
“Victims recounted to me details of the religious cleansing of Christian neighbourhoods in homes and Qasair by armed jihadis who threatened them with death and the destruction of their property if they did not leave their home.” Added Eibner.
Churches in the UK need to rally behind their Christian brothers and sisters in Syria. You can do this by supporting organisations that are serving the persecuted church in Syria, Open Doors is one of these organisations.
Sign Open Doors Global petition and receive a free wrist band as a reminder to pray for the church in Syria, you can also support their efforts by providing a pledge towards relief efforts in the region.
Follow this link to be a part of www.opendoorsuk.org/
Posted by Amanda Hopkins