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17111Beleaguered Syrian Christians Face Growing Threat From Jihadists

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Nov 8, 2012
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      Beleaguered Syrian Christians Face Growing Threat From Jihadists
      November 5, 2012 12:11 pm

      Amid the ongoing Syrian civil war, Syria’s Christian community has come
      under growing threat as foreign jihadists and Muslim radicals
      increasingly play a role in the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.

      The Syrian Christians, who comprise 10 percent of the population, have
      been put into a difficult situation by the conflict. On one hand, many
      support the rebellion against the ruthless Assad. At the same time,
      however, under Assad they were a protected minority. Many Christians
      fear that if Assad is overthrown and replaced by Islamists, they will
      face greater persecution. Signs of that are already beginning to appear.

      “They wanted to kill us because we were Christians. They were calling us
      Kaffirs [infidels], even little children saying these things. Those who
      were our neighbours turned against us,” said one Syrian Christian to the
      UK’s Independent.

      Syrian Christian religious leaders blame recent influx of Islamic
      radicals. Responsibility for the attacks lay with “an influx of
      jihadists in the rebels in the last six, seven months,” Archbishop Issam
      John Darwish said.

      Another prominent and widely respected Arab Christian leader, Mother
      Agner-Mariam, claims that many of the jihadists are affiliated with
      al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood and are veterans of Afghanistan and
      Iraq. And now, “their cause is being recycled to kill Syrians,” she said.

      As Syrian Christians face further attacks and persecution, many in the
      largely Christian West are doing little to come to their support.
      Archbishop Darwish believes this is because the West has a fundamental
      misunderstanding of the threat of Islamic radicals.

      “I have raised this with officials in the West, they must bring peace.
      The jihadis will not stop here, the war will spread to Europe. What will
      England be like in ten or 15 years?”