Syria: What Lies in Store for Christians?

Source: FSSPX News

“People are killed in plain daylight, kidnapped by gangsters, who ask for high ransoms… Before, we enjoyed some safety.  Today, those of the Christians who have the means to do so, leave.”  Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart, questioned by Apic in early February, explained that Syrian Christians, who represent 12% of the population, live in fear.  “We are afraid.  We have always lived in a safe country.  We do not want to be like Iraq.  And the evolution of the transitions in Libya and Egypt do not reassure us,” he had declared to Figaro on January 11.  The Melkite Greek Catholic  Archbishop of Alep, the country’s second largest city, fears that the establishment of a Muslim regime lies in store for minorities in Syria.

“The destabilization of Syria could compromise the relations between religious communities, and, just like in Iraq after the American invasion, harm the two million Christians living in the country,” declared Bishop Guiseppe Nazzaro, Latin Catholic Apostolic Vicar of Alep, to the missionary agency Misna.

Archbishop Jeanbart spoke out against the international media, declaring that it is mostly opposed to the Syrian regime, and too often spreads false reports of the reality of his country.  For example, the information published by journalist Georges Malbrunot, of Figaro, who claimed that the French reporter Gilles Jacquier, who was hit by a shell in Homs on January 11, was killed by protestors.  “They fired on a pro-Assad protest.  The direction from which the shells came was obvious.”  He firmly denounced the media propaganda: “No one in the media speaks of the infiltration in Syria of extremists and mercenaries from Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Pakistan, some from Afghanistan…  From without, we see the West attacking our president, and from within, we see groups of armed Muslims who come to sow terror and death in certain zones of the country.  Unfortunately, several thousands of innocent civilians and soldiers – at least 2,000 soldiers, police officers, simple civilians – have been victims of the hate and hostility of these groups.  They have often been savagely tortured, mutilated and killed.”

The Archbishop of Alep believes that “only a sincere dialogue could save the country from disaster,” but he observes that “we are still waiting for the reforms announced by those in power at present, and the opposition refuses to negotiate.”  It is true, he added, that the large majority of Syrians, especially the Christians, are asking for profound reforms and significant changes in the governing of the country, “first of all the suppression of the dictatorship of one party, and a democracy built on a true freedom that respects the inalienable rights of one and all.”  “But it is also true that very few Syrians wish for an abrupt change that would run the risk of plunging the country into a bloodbath, a disastrous void and a great desolation.”  We fear the domination of the dogmatic Muslim Brothers, Archbishop Jeanbart had declared to Figaro, who do not have much weight within the country and want to move quickly to overturn the present regime.  This is exactly why they are so active in the ranks of the opposition outside of the country and refuse all dialogue with those in power.  The present regime enjoys the support of the minorities “and terrorist attacks are beginning to rally other Syrians to the side of those now in power.” (sources: apic/misna/lefigaro – DICI#250, Feb 17, 2012)

You can also read :
Syria: “We are afraid of the Islamists... they are exclusivist!”
Syria: Some bishops dread the rise of Islamism