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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Quote of the Day (11)

More than 350,000 Syrian refugees have sought refuge in Europe since January.

Nadim Nassar is the only Church of England priest in Syria, and is well positioned to describe what is currently going on there. In this CBC interview earlier this month with Michael Enright in Toronto, he lays out some of the causes behind mass migration. Though many surging through the countries of Europe toward Germany do not originate in Syria, it is the refugee component that gives this “immi-vasion” its media credibility and moral authority.

It’s a complex issue and believers all over the world are interested in what’s happening to their brothers and sisters in Syria, because Syrian Christians are among those most impacted by the civil war in their home country.

Nassar on the difficulty in getting Western Christians to grasp the issues:
“After 18 years living in London, I’m still asked from time to time, ‘Father, when did you become Christian?’ Because they think I was a Moslem and converted to Christianity. And when I say I’ve been always Christian, the following question, ‘When did your parents become Christian?’ So that far they can go, but not further.

In the Western mind the biblical geography is Fantasia more than reality. For example, when I say to the British, “Paul was converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus,” that Damascus and the capital of Syria are different. For the British, the biblical Damascus is Camelot and St. Paul is King Arthur. So there is no connection when you say “road to Damascus”.

And yet Damascus today is still the capital of Syria.”
On the problems for Christians beyond what is reported in the news:
Enright: Are Christians allowed now to worship openly, or are they fearful of going out of their homes? How are they treated now by the majority?

Nassar: Depends where, Michael, because if you are in the areas where the government is in control, yes, we go to churches; we practice our religion, our churches, normally. But outside the area where the government, the regime, is in control, it is very difficult. Because what the people don’t know, ISIS is not the only organization that is Islamic militant. There are hundreds of organizations like ISIS, only inferior. And sometimes they are in alliance with ISIS and sometimes they fight with ISIS.

Enright: And is it their position that Christians are infidels?

Nassar: Infidels, and they have to pay the religious tax. They have to pay it in gold, not cash. So the three options they have: pay in gold, become Moslems, or be killed. Not even to leave.

There was an option to leave, and after that, there was no option to leave.

Enright: And if they don’t convert and haven’t got the gold?

Nassar: They are killed.
It’s almost 3/4 of an hour long, but probably worth your time.

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