Posts Tagged ‘Syrian Christians’

Why so few Christians among the refugees?

November 21, 2015
Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.  Source: Newsweek.

The Christian community in Syria dates back to the time of St. Paul, who was converted on the road to Damascus.

Today the survival of Christianity in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries is under threat.  Syria has lost 700,000 Christians in the past five year, nearly two-thirds of its Christian population.  Iraq has lost more than a million Christians since the 2003 invasion.

The so-called Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL or Da’esh) singles out Christians for beheading and rape.  It calls them “crusaders,” meaning that they are supposedly part of an age-old European invasion of the Middle East.  Yet Syria was a Christian country for centuries before Mohammad was even born.

20150327cover600x800revMany religious scholars fear for the survival of the ancient Christian communities in Syria and Iraq.  This is something new, not a centuries-old conflict.

Christians and Muslims mostly lived together in peace during the Arab Caliphates, the Ottoman Empire and European colonial rule, and, if there was persecution, it fell short of genocide.

Despite all this, there are relatively few Christians among the Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees knocking on the doors of Europe and the United States.

An estimated 10 percent of Syria’s population is Christian, yet they constitute only 2.5 percent of the Syrian applicants for asylum in Europe.   I would have expected more, if only because, unlike with Muslims, there are no predominantly Christian nations in the Middle East region.

I don’t think this is because of intentional discrimination.   Asylum seekers are screened in refugee camps, and Middle Eastern Christians reportedly are reluctant to enter refugee camps because of persecution and abuse by Muslim refugees.

Certain American and European politicians have called for asylum of Syrian refugees to be limited to Christians. [1]

Barring refugees solely on the  basis of religion is wrong and possibly a violation of international law.  But there surely is justification for an affirmative action program for some of the world’s most persecuted people.

LINKS

The New Exodus: Christians Flee ISIS in the Middle East by Janine Di Giovanni and Conor Gaffey for Newsweek.

Syria’s Beleaguered Christians by the BBC.

Christian refugees discriminated against by US and UK governments by Harry Farley for Christianity Today.

Why So Few Syrian Christian Refugees by Jonathan Witt for The Stream.

Why the question of Christian vs. Muslim refugees has become so incredibly divisive by Michelle Boorstein for the Washington Post.

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[1]  Actually, I think it would be a fine thing if Texas, Hungary or some other place became a haven for the world’s persecuted Christians.

War and peace – October 13, 2015

October 13, 2015

The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century by Gary Leupp for Counterpunch.

CIA Interventions in Syria: A Partial Timeline by Michael S. Rozeff for LewRockwell.com.

Never get involved in a land war in (west) Asia by Thoreau for Unqualified Offerings.

The people in Washington who’ve planned military policy in the past 15 years must think that (1) the United States is so rich and powerful that no mistake can possibly have any fatal consequence and (2) the only proof that a policy is a mistake is an admission that it is a mistake.

War with Isis: Why Syria’s Christians can never go home by Patrick Cockburn for The Independent.

The right-wing nuts are right!  Obama really IS trying to impost Sharia law by Joseph Cannon for Cannonfire.

The radical jihadist militias that the U.S. government is arming want to impose Sharia law on Syria.  Bashar al-Assad and his father, Hafez al-Assad, were ruthless dictators who’d stop at nothing to stay in power.  But they never persecuted Christians or other religious minorities merely because of their faith.

McClatchy Expected to Close Foreign Bureaus By End of the Year by Michael Calderone for Huffington Post.

The McClatchy newspaper chain had a different business model than its U.S. rivals.  Rather than catering either to the public or to the powers that be, their editors and reporters reported the news as they saw it, without fear or favor. Sadly this didn’t work out.

Post-Assad Syria: a haven for al Qaeda?

August 28, 2013

syria_civil_war_rebel_control_map_2013-08-22

Overthrowing the Assad regime could create a haven for al Qaeda, larger than the one that Osama bin Laden formerly had in Afghanistan.

The U.S. war on terror evolved in a bizarre way.   Back during the Bush administration, Congress authorized military action against al Qaeda and associated forces.  Osama bin Laden and his followers were Sunni Muslims.   Using that authorization as its legal basis, the U.S. government threatens attacks on governments that are enemies of al Qaeda—the Shiite Muslim government of Iran and the Shiite-friendly government of Syria.

The rebel forces that the U.S. government is supporting in Syria are led by supporters of al Qaeda—the same kinds of people the U.S. is waging drone warfare against in Pakistan and Yemen.  We’re told that, on the one hand, al Qaeda is such a threat that we Americans have to accept perpetual war and perpetual martial law, but now we’re being told that, on the other hand, it is okay to support al Qaeda to attain a geopolitical objective.

LINKS

How U.S. Strikes on Syria Help Al Qaeda by Barak Barfi for The Daily Beast.  The ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), the local al Qaeda affiliate, is the leading force among the rebels and will come out on top if Assad is overthrown.

Does Obama know he’s fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda? by Robert Fisk in The Independent.

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