Ekklesia comment on the Syrian crisis

By Press Office
September 2, 2013

Ekklesia staff and associates have been busy commenting, analysing and reporting on the crisis in Syria and the responses of the international community, especially the UK and US governments.

As a think-tank we stand in the tradition of creative theologically-rooted nonviolence and conflict transformation exemplified by the peace churches, but with respect and engagement towards those who operate from a 'Just War' perspective (seeking to limit conflict morally) or a Christian pragmatist outlook concerned with promoting justpeace.

Contributions to our extensive online coverage reflect all three perspectives, but with an emphasis towards engaging practical nonviolence and current political realities. They have been picked up by external media as diverse as La Prensa and Times of India.

In terms of broadcasting, Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow has done a range of radio interviews and was a phone-in guest commentator on BBC Radio London 94.9 yesterday morning (Sunday 1 September 2013), being interviewed by Jumoke Fashola. You can 'listen again' for six days. The segment is 1 hour 40 mins in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01f4yk1

Our regular Middle East commentator, ecumenical political and legal consultant Dr Harry Hagopian (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian), has been on a whole variety of programmes over the past few days, including BBC News. He has also launched a new monthly Premier Radio broadcast on the Middle East and North Africa (http://www.premier.org.uk/mena#sthash.xa2hUQrr.dpuf) which is profiled here (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18950).

On the BBC he made the point that Christian communities across the MENA are caught between a rock and a hard place. Most Christians – despite some statements by a number of their leaders – instinctively associate themselves with dignity and freedom of expression, and so are against totalitarian regimes. But they are also very fearful of the increase in the number of extreme jihadi and takfiri elements in Syria. It is a difficult space to live, marked by tangible fears.

Harry is also working on a piece for Huffington Post and did a 13-minute interview on BBC Wiltshire in his capacity as MENA Consultant to Catholic Bishop Declan Lang of the Clifton Diocese, along with three other radio conversations that morning. Sunday Breakfast with Sim Courtie in Wiltshire can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01f0vg6 (interview between 1:09 & 1:22).

Over the past week we have published some 45 articles from eight authors looking closely at the range of developments related to Syria. You can find them all aggregated automatically here, plus a range of material going back to 2011: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/syria

In the next few days, we will be focusing on those promoting nonviolent alternatives to military interventionism, following on from Simon Barrow's 'Game-changing: Syria, tough reality and alternatives to military adventurism': http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18970

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.