Syria: Christians Falling Into Severe Financial Hardship, Could Now Face Bloodbath From Islamist ‘Free Syrian Army’
By Pervaiz Khokhar, Salem News – “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 … 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…
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.” Read more.