We were deeply alarmed to learn about the plans of the US army to strike the territory of Syria. Undoubtedly, it will bring ever greater sufferings to the Syrian people, first of all, to the civilian population. An external military intervention may result in the radical forces coming to power in Syria who will not be able and will not wish to ensure inter-confessional accord in the Syrian society.
Indeed, U.S. military intervention would undoubtedly lead to even more human rights abuses, first and foremost at the hands of al-Qaeda jihadis — who in fact are on record vowing to slaughter Christians after the U.S. intervenes and overthrows Assad; Obama just waived a U.S. law prohibiting the banning of terrorist organizations simply to arm and ultimately help them realize their ambitions.
Our special concern is for the fate of the Christian population of Syria, which in that case will come under the threat of total extermination or banishment. It has already happened in the regions of the country seized by militants. An attempt made by the armed groups of the Syrian opposition to seize the town of Ma‘loula whose residents are predominantly Christians has become a new confirmation of our concerns. The militants keep shelling the town in which ancient Christian monasteries are located – the sites of special veneration by the faithful all over the world.
Again, all absolutely true — especially “the threat of total extermination or banishment,” which has been the case wherever and whenever U.S.-backed Islamists come to power:
- Afghanistan: Under U.S. auspices, the supposedly “moderate” Karzai government still upholds the apostasy law — persecuting those who seek to convert to Christianity, making them just as intolerant as the Taliban — and, under U.S. auspices, destroyed the nation’s last Christian church.
- Iraq: After the U.S. “liberated” the nation from Saddam Hussein, the “chemical-weapon-using-tyrant” — sound familiar? — Christians are still being terrorized into extinction, more than half leaving their homeland.
- Libya: Since U.S-backed terrorists came to power — giving American the Benghazi consulate attack on the anniversary of 9/11 — the tiny Christian community there has been persecuted, including bombed churches and threatened nuns—things unprecedented under the “tyrant” Gaddafi.
- Egypt: After coming to power, the Obama administration’s Muslim Brotherhood allies enforced draconian blasphemy codes against Christians and are currently destroying countless churches and in some regions forcing Christians to pay jizya.
- Syria: Atrocities against Christians by the U.S.-backed jihadis know no bounds — such as the recent gang rape and slaughter of a 15-year-old Christian girl by the U.S.-supported “freedom fighters.” And now in Ma‘loula, Christians are being forced to choose between converting to Islam or dying and other atrocities.
The Christian hierarchs of Aleppo, Metropolitans Paul and John Ibrahim, have been held captive by militants since April 22. Nothing is known about their fate despite of the fact that a number of religious figures appealed to the leaders of their states to help to release them.
Indeed, here is yet another example of the nature of the people the U.S. government is supporting. Paul and John Ibrahim were traveling in Syria doing “humanitarian work” when their driver was killed and they were kidnapped. Maybe John McCain can be useful and phone his al-Qaeda kidnapping allies and ask them to release them? At any rate, there is no end to the amount of Christians, like Fr. Murad, who have been kidnapped and/or slaughtered by the “freedom fighters.”
I am deeply convinced that the countries which belong to the Christian civilization bear a special responsibility for the fate of Christians in the Middle East.
Here the good patriarch speaks a language that may have once resonated with Americans and Europeans — that is, the people from “the countries which belong to the Christian civilization” — but which is increasingly meaningless to those who insist that their “humanitarian concerns” extend to anyone but those unfashionable Christians, and to some American Protestants who are unaware that Christians actually exist outside of the U.S.
As do all eastern churches, however, the Russia Orthodox Church has centuries long experience with Islamic oppression and violence — beginning with the “Tatar yoke” and continuing to the present — and hence, not only sympathizes with the plight of Near East Christians, many of whom are Orthodox, but, as Vladimir Putin himself recently put it in a conference partially dealing with the plight of Christians under Islam, “Russia has tremendous experience in reaching and maintaining inter-confessional peace and accord, and is ready to share it.”
The Russian Orthodox Church knows the price of human sufferings and losses since in the 20th century our people survived two devastating world wars which claimed millions of lives and ruined many people’s lives. We also regard as our own pain the pain and losses the American people suffered in the terrible terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001.
Alas, some people remember the lessons of history, to their benefit; others forget, to their regret.