Barnabas Aid - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Please pray for House of Lords debate on...

Email:

Please pray for House of Lords debate on Christians in Middle East

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Please pray for House of Lords debate on Christians in Middle East

Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe

Urgent prayer request from Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid:

On Friday (9 December), the UK House of Lords is holding an important and timely debate, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, about the situation of Christians in the Middle East.

The_House_of_Lords_chamber_4X3.jpg
House of Lords Chamber
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by UK Parliament

Barnabas Aid has been asked to produce a briefing paper (see below) for this debate, and I am now urgently seeking your prayers that the Lords will recognise the grave danger that Christian minorities are facing as a result of the “Arab Spring”. Please pray also that the Lords will exert their influence on our government so that it will press for the protection of Christians and other vulnerable groups in the region.  

I have just returned from a visit to Syria, where the Christians are extremely concerned about what is happening in their country and what the future holds for them there. Also the Syrian Christians, and Iraqi Christian refugees in the country, are in considerable need, as the country’s economy is crippled by the ongoing unrest.

Please pray for Christians in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, that the Lord will grant them His peace at this time of uncertainty and meet all their practical needs. Barnabas Aid has been helping Syrian Christians and Iraqi Christian refugees in the country for many years. If you would like to help them, please send a donation to the Syria General Fund.

Barnabas Aid Briefing on the Situation of Christians in the Middle East

Religious minorities have been placed under growing pressure in the wake of the momentous changes brought about in the Arab world as a result of the so-called “Arab Spring”. These momentous changes brought with them hopes for democracy, respect for human rights and prosperity for all citizens of the Middle East.

Sadly, the current developments we are witnessing turn these hopes into fears. From Tunisia to Egypt, Islamist parties have gained ascendency. This is a potential disaster for religious minorities, as Islamist parties rely on a conservative interpretation of Sharia as the principal source of law and ultimately want to make it the law of the land, thus greatly restricting reforms that promote human rights and placing even greater restrictions on non-Muslims than previously existed.

The crisis that has engulfed Syria threatens the two million Christians living there. Since the armed conflict in Iraq, Syria has provided refuge for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christian refugees, amongst others who fled to Syria after they were targeted by Islamist extremists in Iraq. While the Assad regime has undoubtedly been authoritarian and brutal in its treatment of its citizens, Syria has traditionally protected its religious minorities more than any other country in the Middle East. Should Syria become consumed by a civil war, it is feared that the vulnerable Christian population will be targeted on a similar scale to what we witnessed in the aftermath of Western intervention in Iraq. Other minorities may face a similar backlash. Syria’s Christians are in a frightening position and their weakness and lack of protection could leave them as easy targets for Islamist extremists who may use the political vacuum created by internal conflict.

Mindful of the tragic levels of civilian suffering brought about in Iraq by over ten years of extensive sanctions imposed by the international community, we would invite caution against further sanctions being considered against Syria that run the risk of impacting on the civilian population. Instead there is a need for direct consultation between HM Government and representatives of all those affected by developments in Syria, particularly Christians. Consultation needs to translate into considered policies that seek to protect all civilians of Syria and particularly those who are most vulnerable should the country be destabilised by military action.

The continued threat of unilateral military action against targets in Iran could also increase the ongoing persecution of Christians there. Iran is home to over a million Christians who live under constant oppression by the authorities. There are real fears that these Christians will be treated as co-conspirators by the Iranian authorities if or when any Western or regional power acts decisively against the Iranian regime. Such action will spark arbitrary arrests, detention and even torture.

Egypt has been one of the countries at the centre of the Arab Spring. It is home to a large Christian minority that makes up about 10% or more of the total population. Numerous incidents of sectarian hostility have taken place over recent years. Christians have frequently been attacked by their Muslim neighbours and by religious extremists, and little or no protection has been given to them by the police and security forces. The legal system has been heavily Islamised and restricts religious freedom. The Arab Spring created hopes amongst many Christian citizens that all Egyptians would soon enjoy the freedoms of a truly democratic, secular state that would respect human rights and religious freedom in particular. This hope quickly faded as Islamists began to gain privileged influence in the post-uprising Egypt and there were renewed deadly attacks on Christians by Islamists and security forces. Early indications are that the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi political parties (who take an even harder line) are likely to dominate any elected government. These parties want to Islamise Egypt even further. There is now little possibility of the conditions for religious minorities improving; indeed, many fear they will get worse, and huge numbers of Egyptian Christians are emigrating.

Similar trends are emerging in Libya as the National Transitional Council has determined that Sharia will be the principal source of law in the new constitution of Libya. This decision was taken without widespread consultation among the people of Libya, and has sparked widespread concerns among civil society groups in Libya that human rights and fundamental freedoms will once again be denied.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Please pray for House of Lords debate on Christians in Middle East

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Pray for a church in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, whose building has been confiscated by the authorities, who claim that the sales contract signed more than 14 years ago was invalid. The seizure of the building may be motivated by hostility to the congregation’s Christian activities, but the incentive could also be financial; the building now has a market value of around US$1 million. The State Property Fund, which originally owned it, has said the church will get back only the US$46,000 it paid 14 years ago. The church insists it has fulfilled the terms of the contract. Pray for the congregation, that their place of worship will be restored to them and that God will protect them from further harassment. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 5 hours ago

    • Give thanks to the Lord that Barnabas Aid is able to help oppressed and persecuted Christian communities by providing grants to Christian students in higher education. Pray for those who have received this help in the past, that they will give a voice to their brothers and sisters and will help to resource, empower and protect them in the face of hostility. Ask that God’s sustaining grace will uphold those who are currently studying, often under severe pressure from the majority community, and pray that they may be equipped for spiritual leadership. Praise God for their dedication to His service, and ask Him to use them powerfully in their various vocations. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Almighty God, we pray that You will protect Your people in the Holy Land. We pray especially for the congregation of a church in Gaza City, whose church compound was attacked with a small explosive device on 26 February. We give You thanks that the church, school, nursery and pastor’s house were undamaged and that a fi re that was lit under the pastor’s car was extinguished when Christians came outside to investigate. We pray that the congregation may stand firm for You in the face of the threatening message that was written on the wall facing the church gate: “We’ll get you soon, O worshippers of the cross.” We ask that there will be no further attempt to attack this church or others in the area. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Taliban militants attempted to attack a Christian-run day-care centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 28 March, saying it was “a church used to convert Muslims to Christianity”. The attackers mistakenly targeted the next-door building, which houses workers on an agricultural and de-mining project, instead; two Afghan civilians, one a young girl, died in the crossfi re. All five Taliban bombers were also killed in the raid on the heavily-secured compound. The day-care centre that they were attempting to target, which is used by expatriates, is said to hold Christian worship services on certain days. Ask the Lord to change the hearts of those who plan and carry out terrorist attacks against Christians and other targets in Afghanistan; pray that they will turn instead to Him. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “He was always a light for Christ and he had a love and commitment that he expressed for the Afghan people because of that love for Christ.” The widow of Dr Jerry Umanos, an American doctor who was shot dead at the Christian-run hospital where he worked in Kabul, Afghanistan, spoke of her husband’s faith and ministry. Two visiting American Christians, father and son Gary and John Gabel, were also killed on 24 April when an Afghan security guard opened fire on the staff he was meant to be protecting. Pray for comfort for the grieving families of the three men, and ask the Lord to safeguard the future of the hospital, which provides much-needed medical care and also trains Afghan doctors and nurses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Jul 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Aid 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Aid is a registered trade mark