Tuesday March 11, 2014
Free Syrian Army Threatens Christians Who Were Protected Under AssadPervaiz Khokhar Salem-News.com
Pray for the persecuted Syrian Churches and Christians.
(FAISALABAD, Pakistan) - The streets are most dangerous that is, unless it’s a Friday, when a few Syrian Christians dare to step outside of their homes amidst the persecution of Syria’s Christians by the Islamic rebels of the ‘Free Syrian Army.
The Christians in Syria (10% of its population) could be facing a bloodbath. The signs are there right now, and only Russian and Chinese resistance to ‘the West’ is keeping the Syrian church from complete extermination.
In many Syrian towns, lawlessness has become the norm. When government forces aren’t present, Muslims have been known to rob churches and kidnap, rape, or even kill Christian women. Innocent bystanders simply making trips to the store have been gunned down. Curfews have done little to make anyone feel safer or less fearful, so the Christian community simply bands together and prays.
Hundreds of these Christian residents have watched their lives and their very freedoms slip away right before their eyes. Homs, a city which has been occupied by both government and rebel forces for weeks, is now alone the site of more than 1,500 violent deaths. As the Arab Spring continues to rage throughout Syria, thousands more people have lost their lives in a movement that seeks to strip President Bashar al-Assad’s regime of its power. And as Islamic protesters clash with government forces, Christians have become hopelessly tangled in the crossfire.
The most recent fighting has left over 50 Christians dead. One victim, a young Christian boy, was killed by rebels who filmed the murder and then blamed the act on government soldiers.
Another victim, a Christian man, was taken captive by rebels before being cruelly asked by them, "How do you want to die?" The man suffered a complete breakdown before he was eventually released. But the ever-present fear of persecution and violence is only part of the problem for Syria’s Christians.
The State of Christian Persecution in Syria
Many in the Christian community, which comprises approximately 6 percent of Syria’s population (1.5 million, including Christian refugees from Iraq), have fallen into severe financial hardship since the Arab Spring uprising, primarily because they are too afraid to leave their homes to go to work. Because of the violence, a shortage of basic supplies such as gas, electricity, and many supermarket products has contributed even further to the desperate situation.
Although the Syrian church has historically enjoyed peace and religious freedom under the Assad regime, the Arab Spring has destabilized that peace, as Christians are now typically perceived as supporters of the existing government. With help from fellow Muslims in Saudi Arabia, many Islamic fundamentalists are taking advantage of the opportunity to pursue their agenda in Syria, which has significantly increased the persecution of Christians.
Faced with the threat of a full scale civil war and intervention by the international community factors which may bring about even greater persecution, many Christians are preparing to leave Syria altogether. This possibility could create a crisis similar to the exodus in Iraq, where thousands of Christians have fled intense persecution for safer regions, leaving the Iraqi church practically nonexistent.
One Human Race
Despite rampant fear and uncertainty, many Syrian Christians are ministering to Muslims in need. Many of these Muslims, particularly those of the younger generation who struggle with long-term unemployment, have become disillusioned and frustrated. Pray that God will touch the hearts of all those who hear the Gospel message and that Syrian Christians will continue to reach out to them despite the risks of persecution.
I want to inform readers that here in Pakistan every Christian doesn't have religious freedom and lot of poor Christian families live and work in situations that are very pitiable, while Christian women & girls face the threat of rape.
In fact there are many credible reports about Pakistani Christian Women & Girls who clean houses of the rich families being victimized.
There are cases in which they Muslim men have thrown acid on Christian women & girls faces and then the perpetrators go so far as to register cases against these Christian women & girls and put them in jail, and many are locked up right here in the districts & central jails of Faisalabad Pakistan.
Prayer Points from Syria’s Christians
Christians are asking for their supporters to pray that the situation will stabilize in Syria, and that Christians will once again experience religious freedom in their homeland.
Safety and provisions: Pray for the safety and security of Christians who remain in Syria. Pray also that the Lord will meet their material needs during this time of strife, fear, and persecution. Pray that local churches in Syria will grow under strong, godly leadership, and that Bibles, Christian literature, and other necessary resources would be provided for them.
Reverend Pervaiz Khokhar is a contributing writer in Asia who covers issues pertaining to Christianity in countries that fail to tolerate religious freedom. Perfaiz is the Chairman of The Preaching Society & Social Welfare Services, Mohallah Rasool Pura Street No 7 in Jhumra City, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
You can write to Pervaiz Khokhar at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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