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The Future of Christians in the Middle East

Panel on the Future of Christians in the Middle East via Assyria TV on 2/18/17

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Syriac Orthodox church in AlQamishly during a regular Sunday liturgy. Source: my friend Samir in AlQamishly

Panel on the future of the Christians in Middle East via Assyria TV on 2/18/2017

The Future of Christians in the Middle East: A panel discussion with H.H. Patriarch Aphrem II Karim during the Munich Security Conference (MCS)
The panel held on Saturday February 18th, 2017 was organized by the Hanns-Seidel Foundation which besides its political work is engaged in intercultural and interreligious dialogue. This panel became meanwhile an integral part of the official accompanying program for the MSC.
Watch the Panel Discussion HERE (Speech starts at 58 minutes)
My synopsis of the speech:
  • Shlomo means peace in Aramaic and that is how we greet each other and that is what we are missing in our life these days.
  • Patriarch thanks Hanns Seidel Stifung for the opportunity to discuss this issue and said he feels that we have been ignored for some time as Christians in the Middle East and we welcome every opportunity to be heard.
  • He stated that he drove to Beirut from Syria and took a flight to Germany
  • “We are here because there is always peace to be sought and to be achieved.
  • The Syrian conflict should be settled in a peaceful manner. Violence only brings on more violence as Pope Francis said.
    The war in Syria is Not a civil war, but instead
  • What we suffer from in Syria and Iraq can not be called a civil war it is due to religious fanaticism and extremism. This is sweeping over the entire area and extending out of the borders of the Middle East. Crossing into Europe and the entire world. It has become global terrorism.
  • About a 100 years ago we suffered horrible genocide in the Middle East experienced a genocide.
  •  it didn’t stop in 1915 or 1918 it continues to this day.
  • Not only Christians are dying but what is happening is not short of genocide. Populations are being uprooted, Church’s being destroyed, clergy are being killed and bishops are being kidnapped.
  • Archbishop of Mosul is here today
  • Both Orthodox archbishops from Aleppo were kidnapped by Daesh on April 22nd 2013… not much is known about them since then.
  • What’s happening in the Middle East is not individual cases against but is an organized effort to wipe out Christianity from the Middle East.. this will happen if we do not stand up and demand an end to this.
  • Statistics are very alarming in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and in the Holy land.  Christians are leaving at an alarming rate.
  • We want you to help us stop that, we appreciate German generosity to help the refugees but we want you to help us keep Christians in the Middle East, we lived there for 2000 years as Christians and many millennia before that as indigenous people of the region. We are not guests there we lived with others and we respected them and they respected us.
  • Now, ideologies of extremism, through Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabism have made living conditions very difficult for Christians.
  • Along with the international attempt to enforce “regime change” in Syria.
  • We are scared if the secular government were to be overturned and MB or Wahhabism take over.
  • The Syrian Government has room for improvement and reforms like any other nation.
  • The legitimate secular Syrian government treats us based on our humanity and citizenship not our religion.
  • If a religious regime is established in Syria that will be the end of Christianity.
  • What we need from the international community is to help to stay in the Middle East.
  • We need good relations with our neighbors.
  •  We need a strong government and strong army that can protect all of us. We need to be able to continue living with our traditions and be able to practice our religion freely.
  • We want to be heard, having support and prayers is important but we also want to have groups that advocate for us to help us.
  • People need to feel secure about returning to their homes.
  • Church’s are overwhelmed with the humanitarian services they are providing to locals in the North East region of Syria: food, settlement for displaced families, education fees, health services and major surgeries.
  • There are many people who are helping us but very little of the 2.5 billion offered by Germany reaches Christians. Why are we being discriminated against?
  • There is an NGO in Germany that is helping people through the church’s in ME
  • Governments should not feel ashamed to help Christians
  • The church’s in Syria in Damascus and other parts of the country help everyone not just Christians.
  • Many organizations and governments want to separate state and religion when providing aid and charity, but that shouldn’t be the case.
  • Majority of those that the church’s are helping are Muslim
  • Baghdad has lost its Christian population from 60k to 6,000.
  • People need to feel secure before they can return to their homes
  • We need security and he would like to propose a step further, he believes there is an opportunity for the Christians can gather together as a safe haven with international help at least initially until they can protect themselves. Iraqi government discussed this and it was suggested that the Nineveh region being designated as Christian region a safe haven.
  • This will give our people some security and some hope. It will give those who live abroad the sentiment that they can go back to their ancestral roots.
  • In Syria we need a strong government, new  Syria should be for all Syrians those who support the opposition and those who support the legitimate country.. Christians are accused of being loyal to the “regime” yes we are loyal to our country, to our ancestors homeland and the legitimate Syrian government but not loyal to any individual.
  • Christians are not fleeing because the “regime” he is not there to defend the “regime” they left “rebel” held areas and moved to “regime” held areas. It’s not the other way. If they were to go to “rebel” areas they would be killed.
  • Two years ago he was meeting with Obama along with 4 other Christian church leaders and Obama said, I know you Christians are protected by the regime and he said there is no “moderate opposition” this is a fantasy.
  • Syria should be open for all Syrian including Christians who are the indigenous people of Syria. We need reconciliation, we need everyone to live in peace, Syria should be for everyone.

Below is a picture of a wedding that took place at St. George’s church in Hamdieh, Homs in Syria after terrorists bombed the roof off. The article can be read HERE

About Sarah Abed (91 Articles)
Independent journalist and political commentator. Focused on exposing the lies and propaganda in mainstream media news, as it relates to domestic and foreign policy with an emphasis on the Middle East. Contributed to various radio shows, news publications and spoken at forums. For media inquiries please email sarahabed84@gmail.com.

2 Comments on The Future of Christians in the Middle East

  1. Paul buckles // March 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm // Reply

    Please keep me posted on your email list as I might need to leave FB. thank you for your information. So hard to find these days. I will tell everyone on Facebook to save your name and link

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Paul,
    At the bottom of the home page there’s an option to follow my page. Please click on that. You should get an email whenever I post a new article. I really appreciate the support and have many articles on the way along. Also I’ve been asked to do more radio show interviews. I have been working on a project for some time now regarding Syria, I can’t disclose any details yet but it will be very informative! Stay tuned ✊🇸🇾❤

    Thank you again!

    Like

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  1. Christian Genocide in Syria: An Interview with Yasmine from Damascus – The Rabbit Hole

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