Syria in Danger of Replicating Christian Exodus in Iraq
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2013 Apr 03
The World Evangelical Alliance's human rights ambassador has warned that Christians are being "chased from their homes" in Syria, the Christian Post reports. According to Dr. Thomas Shirrmacher, Syria is seeing a mass exodus of Christians, similar to that in Iraq following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. A decade ago, there were an estimated 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, but around half the Christian population has since left due to hardship and persecution. Today, there are reportedly fewer than 60 churches left in the country. Schirrmacher said, "I know that many people in Syria are suffering, but Christians are seeing a repetition of the situation in Iraq, that they are largely wiped out between the opposing fronts, and once their survivors are driven out, they seldom have the opportunity to return." Of the previous 60,000 Christians in Homs, one of the areas worst affected by the Syrian conflict, fewer than 1,000 now remain. The WEA warns that churches are being destroyed and Christians are being killed, tortured, used as human shields and raped. Syrian rebels see Christians as supporters of President Bashar al-Assad, while Assad's loyalists do not trust Christians. Reports continue of people in green or black headbands beating up Christians and destroying their property, while threatening similar actions to any other Christians who do not leave the country.