- News Brief
- Research & Policy
- Culture and Review
- Media Centre
Reach tens of thousands of people instantly by advertising with Ekklesia. Find out more
Open Doors, a charity set up to support Christians facing persecution throughout the world, recently presented a report to Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt at a Parliamentary meeting highlighting the particular vulnerability and targeting of the Christian minority communities within the wider Syria crisis.
It has now followed this up with a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, prior to the parliamentary debate on 29 August 2013, written by Deputy CEO, Lisa Pearce.
She wrote: "We have been clear that while an end to the crisis is vital for the sake of all the people of Syria, Open Doors has committed itself to speak up on behalf of the Christians in Syria in particular."
"I had the humbling privilege of spending time with church leaders from Syria on a visit to Lebanon a few weeks ago. One, completely unprompted, urged me to tell my government how dangerous it would be if the West became militarily involved in the crisis. He said 'Through sending arms to our countries and through meddling in our internal affairs what is happening is that the militias and people on the ground see these countries as Christian countries, they don't know any different. They assume that they are sending arms as Christians and so we are the ones that take the brunt of it. They want to revenge themselves on these countries so they take their revenge on the Christians in the country.'
"I wanted to emphasise one comment that is highlighted in [the Open Doors report]: Philip Jenkins, Emeritus Professor of Humanities, Pennsylvania State University, said, 'Any Western intervention in Syria would likely supply the death warrant for the ancient Christianity of the Middle East.'
"There are many issues to consider as you weigh up the options in responding to this crisis. I have written to ensure that the voice of Christians in Syria is not forgotten, especially as around 100,000 people have now signed our Save Syria petition urging, on behalf of the Christians of Syria, that all those with influence and power do everything possible to protect the lives, livelihoods and freedoms of all the people of Syria.
"My colleagues recently met a group of church leaders from Syria who were clear and emphatic that the priority for the international community was to support an inclusive Syrian-led political process to find a political solution, and to do their utmost to get all relevant actors at the table to discuss the future of Syria and all Syrians. We want to ask the question: will this process be helped or hindered by any military intervention by the UK and the USA?" Ms Pearce concluded.
* Open Doors UK: http://www.opendoorsuk.org
* More on Syria from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/syriaTweet