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Syria

Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE for the Map Legend.

 

 

Jesuit Priest Saw Christ Crucified Again in Syria

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

The death of Jesuit Priest Frans van der Lugt has highlighted the incredible work that many Christians are doing in attempting to provide aid and care to those hurting and suffering in Syria. The conflict that has claimed more than 150,000 lives has also displaced nearly a full 1/3 of the country, nearly 9 million people. The church has been an incredible place of peace and love for many broken lives, while at the same time being targeted themselves by Islamic extremist groups.

Heroic Priest Assassinated In Syria

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

A 75-year-old Dutch priest paid with his life for choosing to stay and serve the Syrian people. Fr. Frans gave 50 years of his life to serve in Syria and was committed to stay in the city of Homs despite the war going on around them. He felt he could not abandon the few Christians the also remained. He was killed by a masked gunman who came into the monastery and pulled him into the garden and shot him. It is still unclear exactly who is responsible for his assassination.

Global War on Christianity Is Violent And Real

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Was the killing of a Dutch priest in Homs, Syria just an isolated incident? The reality is that his death, while just one of nearly 150,000 in the past three years in Syria, is also just one of many such incidents that are driven because of ones identification as a Christian. From a Coptic girl in Egypt, to a Dutch priest in Syria, and many, many more, there is ample evidence, John L. Allen writes, to support the idea of a war on Christianity.

Lebanon Cardinal: Christians Not Persecuted Minority, But In Middle East Fabric

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Addressing the United Nations, Lebanese Cardinal Rai spoke about the realities confronting Christians in the Middle East. Rather than Christians being treated as a persecuted minority, a group that is somehow alien to the area, he pressed that Christians must be seen as a part of the Middle East fabric. They have suffered alongside of many others in the current hostilities, though often they have been targeted simply because of their religious identity. Yet, the Christian community still has a crucial role to play in the region.

David Cameron: ‘We Should Stand Up against Persecution of Christians’

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Speaking at an Easter event, British Prime Minister David Cameron raised the issue of Christian persecution. “It is the case that Christians are now the most persecuted religion around the world. “We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other faith groups wherever and whenever we can,” he told the audience including representatives of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The Stuff of Nightmares: Christians Forced From Homes In Syria’s Kassab

Friday, April 11th, 2014

In the midst of Syria’s ongoing conflict, it’s Christian community continues to suffer as it tries to avoid becoming the victims of Islamic extremists who are not just fighting the Assad forces but are also seeking to implement an Islamic state throughout Syria. The fighting that has claimed some 150,000 lives has affected all throughout the country, but it has left the Christians and other minority groups especially vulnerable.

Jihadists Are Embarking On ‘Final Solution’ In Middle East

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

In a speech the day following the murder of a Dutch Priest who had served in Syria for decades, Lord Alton of Liverpool highlights the dangerous ideology that is driving targeted persecution of Christians across the Middle East. Syria has become the focal point of this crisis, one that could be framed in the language of a ‘Final Solution’, recalling the targeted killings of Jews by Nazi’s in the middle of the 20th century.

Syrian Christians Mourn Murdered Priest

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Christians across Syria are mourning the loss of a 75-year-old priest who had served in Syria for decades. Despite the war raging around him, Fr. Frans Van der Lugt had committed himself to staying in Syria and serving the Syrian people. It is not yet clear who is responsible for his death, he was beaten and then shot to death in the monastery where he was living.

Ethnic Armenians Tell Of Flight From Kasab, Their Town In Syria

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Some of those who left the Christian town of Kasab, Syria have begun to tell their stories. More than 2,000 residents of the largely Armenian town fled as rebel groups took control of the city. The town near the Turkish border has become the latest actual and political flashpoint in the war against Syria’s religious minorities.

Long a Survivor in Syria, a Dutch Priest Is Slain

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

A Dutch priest who has spent decades living in Syria was shot dead in the city of Homs, Syria. Speculation is being raised from all sides about who was responsible for his killing. Some opposition activists have speculated that it was a radicalized Islamic fighter from those group that “no longer accept anyone but those who are like them.” Others have speculated that it was an agent of the Assad regime trying to send a message to any Christians of what happens if they are supportive towards the opposition. While the reason for his killing is uncertain, it is clear that the Syrian people lost a friend and servant who has shown them great love.

Syria’s Latest Battle: The PR Fight Over Sanctuary For Christians

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

When rebels took control of the Christian town of Kessab that had long been controlled by the Assad regime, the town’s 2000+ residents fled the area. This again stoked fears that Christians would be targeted as they have repeatedly by Islamic extremist groups throughout the more than three years of conflict. A public relations war is being waged, and again, as in the physical conflict, Christians are caught in the middle.

Gunman Kills Dutch Priest in Syrian City of Homs

Monday, April 7th, 2014

A Dutch priest who had lived in Syria for decades was reportedly assassinated on Monday in a monastery where lived in Homs. The priest had refused to be evacuated from the city despite the conflict that was going on around him. The city of Homs is under control of rebel groups but no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, reportedly carried out by a single masked gunman.

Are Christians Persecuted in the Middle East?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Are Christians Persecuted in the Middle East? It’s almost an unbelievable question for anyone who looks at the reports emerging from the region. This should not be understood to say that Christians are the only ones suffering. There are numerous causes of suffering and destruction that has affected so many across the region, and that has led to the repression of basic human rights. The Christian community has a role to speak up for their own rights – but also the rights of all in the society.

The Choices for Syria’s Christians

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

The conflict in Syria has put the Christians in a dangerous position. They face the threat of either a brutal dictator or radical Sunni extremists who have committed horrible atrocities against not only Christians, but even Muslim groups that did not embrace their extremist ideology. The reality of these choices is what has led many to flee the country and for others to be left with no real good option to support. 

Rebels Reassure Christians After Capturing Key Syrian Border Town

Friday, March 28th, 2014

After fighting with forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, rebel forces have gained control of the Syrian city of Kessab. More than 2,000 residents of the largely Christian city have fled, leaving behind a “ghost town.” Reports have emerged of rebels desecrating churches, while others show video of the churches intact.

Syria’s Islamist Rebels Force Christian Activist to Wear Veil

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A personal story highlights how far the Syrian conflict has come from its beginnings as a push for more rights and freedoms from a dictatorial regime. Some Christians were among those originally pushing for greater freedoms, but now they see that movement has been replaced by extremist groups seeking to impose an Islamic state. “Leave this country, it’s not ours anymore,” was the conclusion of a Syrian Christian.

Aid Proposed To Stop Christian Persecution In The Middle East

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

America needs to do more to address the persecution of Christians, was the takeaway from a panel on the issue. The Center for American Progress organized the event that brought together a panel of researchers to address the issue, that in the words of Paul Marshall “is getting much worse.” The reality is that a wide-range of actors, including government and non-government organizations need to be active to support churches and address the issues that foster religious persecution.

Two Thousand Kessab Christians Find Safety in Latakia, Syria

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

More than 2,000 Christians have fled their homes in the Syrian city of Kessab. Extremist fighters, largely from the al-Nusra Front took the city, that until now had been relatively peaced. Many of the families who fled have been forced to stay in the church in the city of Latakia or attempt to find housing with relatives. Kessab is a largely Christian city and witnesses reported that the churches in the city were desecrated by the militants as they took control.

Reports Cite 80 Dead in Kessab, Syria; Churches Desecrated

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Latest reports out of Syria show rebels from the Al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front have captured a number of Christian villages on the Turkish border. The villages were home to more than 670 Armenian Christian families. Many of these were evacuated to other cities before the forces arrived, some who did not make it out in time were taken captive. During the assault at least three churches were desecrated, according to witnesses. For months Christians have feared about their fate if militant Islamic groups take control of more areas.

Christian Syrian Activist Speaks out After Being ‘Arrested’ by Islamist Militants for Not Wearing a Veil

Monday, March 24th, 2014

A Syrian Christian who has been a long-time opponent of the regime of Bashar Al-Assad was arrested by Islamists at a protest because she was not wearing a veil. The group said that they were in control of that portion of Aleppo and that hse should abide by their Islamic norms. Following the ordeal she spoke out saying, “There is no room for Christians in the revolution.” Unfortunately, the growing number of Islamists have made it clear they are fighting for an Islamic state, and not for greater rights and freedoms for all Syrians.

Ethnic Cleansing Could Lead to Mass Exodus of Middle East Christians

Friday, March 21st, 2014

As religious and political leaders look at the trends from recent days, it is hard not fear that violence against Christians may continue to drive large numbers of them to seek refuge outside of their homelands. The level of violence has many looking back some 1300 or 1400 years to find a historical equivalent. Yet, far too often, when world leaders do speak on the issue, they fail to ever accompany those words with actions.

We Depend On the Christians of the Middle East

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Why does it really matter if Christians stay in the Middle East? Why don’t they just leave? These questions cut to the heart of what is happening politically across the region. The vast majority of those living in the Middle East want to establish a system of governance that is inclusive off all peoples, regardless of their faith or other markers. If religious extremists are able to drive Christians out and establish an Islamic state, it will not be long before that same ideology will be applied on all those who fail to hold the extremist’s interpretations.

Former Lebanese PM Warns Middle East Religious Diversity Dying

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Rising religious extremism is driving out a “religious pluralism” that has allowed for Christians, Muslims, Jews, and a variety of other faiths to live together. At a recent conference highlight the issue, a former minister from Lebanon highlighted how this trend is threatening to tear apart the region. He called on international groups, such as the United States, to back up their words with actions that will help to preserve the minority communities of the Middle East.

After Three Years, Who Is Standing #WithSyria?

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

International Christian Concern (ICC) joins with millions around the world in calling for an end to the hostility that has torn apart the country of Syria over the past three years. The protests following the detention of 15 children for writing pro-democracy graffiti have descended into one of the most brutal conflicts in recent history. In the three years since the conflict began, militant Islamic jihadists have streamed into the country fighting not just against the brutality of Bashar al-Assad, but also to establish an Islamic state. The Christian community, in 2010 estimated as 10 percent of the population, and other ethnic or religious minorities are being explicitly targeted and killed or driven out of the country.

Finally, a Little Good News for Nuns and Christians in Syria

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

After having been held captive for nearly four months a group of Syrian nuns and a few other women were set free. They were part of a prisoner exchange for women who had been arrested by the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. The news of their release was welcomed even as the fate of other church leaders who have gone missing in Syria remains unknown.

Syrian Rebels Force Christians to Pay ‘Protection’ Tax

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Raqqa, Syria represents the most vivid picture of the dangers of Islamic jihadism for Christians. The city that has been controlled by the extremist group, ISIL, has issued a formal “protection agreement” showing the conditions that Christians must abide by and failure to follow the agreement may be met with death.

We Christians Live in Fear in Syria

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

A Syrian church leader writes about the incredible struggle that the Syrian people are facing, and about the particular challenges for the Christian community in particular. In the land where Paul came to faith in Christ, there are Christians being executed for that same faith. Prior to this conflict the majority of Syrians lived together without hostility between neighbors on the basis of religious identity. Now extremism has gained a foothold in the culture. While Christians are facing grave danger, they “have a crucial role to play in restoring peace.”

Syria Crisis: Nuns Freed By Rebels Arrive In Damascus

Monday, March 10th, 2014

A group of Syrian Nuns that had been detained by a Syrian jihadist group for more than three months has now been released. The nuns who were taken from a monastery in Maaloula Syria were released as part of a prisoner exchange with the Syrian government releasing 150 women that were being held. The nuns were released at a Lebanese border town and have since been escorted back to the Syrian capital of Damascus. The situation regarding the nuns had served to highlight the dire conditions confronting the country’s Christian population.

All Contact Lost With Ma’aloula Nuns. Syria Will Sink Further Into War For Another 10 Years

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

The fate of Christian leaders kidnapped in Syria remains unknown. A group of nuns taken from the city of Ma’aloula are no longer in contact with a group that has been negotiating for their release. There has also been no word on the status of Orthodox bishops who have also been kidnapped in Syria. These are just a few of the many Christians who have been explicitly targeted in the middle of the nearly three-year-old war.

Rep. Wolf: More Must Be Done To Protect Christians In Syria

Friday, March 7th, 2014

As the conflict in Syria moves closer to its third year, attention is again being raised to the plight of the country’s Christian community which has been left vulnerable in the midst of the conflict. Throughout the Middle East Christians have typically presented a moderating force, committed to non-violence, valuing diversity, and promoting peace-building and education. With the specific targeting of Christians and churches this appears to be lost as many have fled their homes and for some the region.

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ICC is constantly monitoring the state of Christian persecution in countries around the world and looking for ways that we can act as bridge between our supporters and the persecuted church. Beyond the projects you see above, we are working in many other areas to provide practical assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ. View our other projects page to understand more of our work and keep up to date on our current projects.