17111Beleaguered Syrian Christians Face Growing Threat From Jihadists
- Nov 8, 2012http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/11/05/beleaguered-syrian-christians-face-growing-threat-from-jihadists/
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
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?”