Until recently Syria had a sizeable Christian minority that was generally left in peace, but this changed after the 2011 Arab Revolution, where ever since Islamist militants have been fighting to oust the incumbent Syrian regime.
The barbarity of ISIS militants, particularly toward Christians, is incomprehensible as they gorge themselves on torture, rape, slavery and execution. Entire areas have been ‘cleansed’ of Christians, and hundreds of homes and churches looted and burnt. The ultimatum of convert to Islam, pay a degrading tax, or be killed, is brutally administered with masses slaughtered for refusal to convert, or inability to pay.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrian Christians are either internally displaced or have fled their country in desperation. Many inhabit crowded desert camps where food is scarce.
The human suffering is heartbreaking and although the need is acute, Western governments have been slow to respond, with few willing to assist Christians who are suffering worst. But some, seeing the torrent of anxious humanity, are granting asylum.
Moreover, images on the ‘news’ of young Muslim men rioting on the borders of Europe must not be allowed to obscure the urgent need of genuine (Syrian) Christian refugees.
However at the same time, calls abound for the West to do more, wealthy Muslim majority Gulf States are refusing to admit refugees! Ignoring any moral obligation to assist their co-religionists fleeing warfare, Bahrain, Saudi-Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait are closed. None are signatories to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, and they only accept incomers holding valid visas.
Genocide is occurring in Syria, yet it is being generally overlooked, and the extermination of Syrian Christians is mostly ignored by the Western news media. Even more inexplicably much of the Western Church, which should be outraged at the violence being done to the body of Christ in the East, still barely mentions their name.
With the Syrian church on the verge of extinction, Australia and other nations can and should do more to shelter bona-fide Syrian Christian refugees.
Pray God will save the Christians of Syria, enable aid to reach all those in need, comfort those in distress, and bring peace to this shattered nation.