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Russian Patriarch to Obama: Syria’s Christians Nearing ‘Extermination’

The leader of Russia's 150 million Orthodox Christians begs the president not to give aid to Syrian jihadis.

by
Raymond Ibrahim

Bio

September 18, 2013 - 12:18 am

While many were fixated on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent letter to the American people, another letter from another Russian leader — this one directly addressed to the U.S. president — was missed.

On September 10, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill issued a letter addressed to “His Excellency Mr. Barack Obama, President, United States.”  Whether one wishes to interpret the letter as a product of politics or sincerity, it accurately highlights the plight of Syria’s Christians, especially in the context of a larger civilizational struggle.

I repost major portions of the letter below, interspersed with my observations for added context:

Your Excellency, Dear Mr. President,

The tragic events in Syria have raised anxiety and caused pain in the Russian Orthodox Church. We receive information about the situation there not from the news reports but from living evidence coming to us from religious figures, ordinary believers and our compatriots living in that country.

This is an important point: the “news reports” evaluated by the Russian church are from “living evidence coming to us from religious figures, ordinary believers and our compatriots living in that country.”  The fact is, outside of America’s biased “mainstream media,” the evidence concerning what is going on in Syria — namely, that Islamic militants are committing human rights atrocities, including possibly the chemical attacks in question — is overwhelming.  Countless eyewitness testimonies, videos, pictures — all those things that rarely make it to the U.S. MSM — make this abundantly clear.

Ask the average Syrian about the current turmoil engulfing their land — and I have, as have numerous Russian Orthodox representatives affiliated with Syria’s ancient Christian community, as noted by the patriarch — and few have any illusions as to its nature: an authoritarian, but secular, Assad vs. radical Islamists and jihadis.

Naturally most Syrians choose Assad.

Only in America, and to a lesser extent Europe, is the myth of “freedom fighters” trying to “liberate” Syria still being peddled.

Patriarch Kirill:

Syria today has become an arena of the armed conflict. Engaged in it are foreign mercenaries and militants linked with international terrorist centres. The war has become an everyday golgotha for millions of civilians.

To be sure, one of the most obvious indicators that this is no “civil war” in the name of “liberty” is the fact that the majority, up to 95%, of those fighting Assad are not even Syrian, but rather al-Qaeda linked jihadis — from Chechnya to the Philippines — trying to form an Islamic emirate in Syria as they did in the 1980s-90s in Afghanistan. Back then, foreign jihadis like Saudi Osama bin Laden and Egyptian Ayman Zawahiri — again, also supported by the U.S. — traveled to Afghanistan, “liberated” it from the U.S.S.R, and then gave us 9/11 as “thanks” in return a decade later.

Here, for example, is a video of foreign militants in a conquered Syrian town singing praises in honor of Osama bin Laden: “They called me a terrorist and I said ‘that will be my honor,’ this is a divine call. … We defeated America … the Trade [Center] became a bunch of rubble. … Greetings from the Taliban and its leader mullah Omar. … Victory is ours, winning is ours, and Allah with all his strength is with us, the infidel masses have come together to defeat us but they will not defeat us.”

Patriarch Kirill:

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.

Patriarch Kirill:

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.

Patriarch Kirill:

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.”

Patriarch Kirill:

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.”

Patriarch Kirill:

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.

Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 2013. Ibrahim’s dual-background -- born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East -- has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.

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Top Rated Comments   
Interesting -

The story begins at Michigan State University with a mechanical engineering professor named Indrek Wichman.

Wichman sent an e-mail to the Muslim Student's Association.
The e-mail was in response to the students' protest of the Danish cartoons that portrayed the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist.
The group had complained the cartoons were 'hate speech.'
============
Enter Professor Wichman.
==========================================
In his e-mail, he said the following:
===============================
Dear Muslim Association,
As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intend to protest your protest. I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey), burnings of Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women (called 'whores' in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris, France. This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many of my colleagues. I counsel you dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Muslims to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile 'protests.'
If you do not like the values of the West - see the First Amendment - you are free to leave. I hope for God's sake that most of you choose that option.
Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.
Cordially,
I. S. Wichman
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
=============================
As you can imagine, The Muslim group at the university didn't like this too well. They're demanding that Wichman be reprimanded, that the university impose mandatory diversity training for faculty,And mandate a seminar on hate and discrimination for all freshmen. Now, the local chapter of CAIR has jumped into the fray. CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, apparently doesn't believe that the good professor Had the right to express his opinion.
==========
For its part, the university is standing its ground in support of Professor Wichman, Saying the e-mail was private, and they don't intend to publicly condemn his remarks.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (18)
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I have this question for those who see Putin in a positive light: Is Assad in charge of Syria, the best case scenario for Christians in Syria?

I've been re-reading the expanded 3rd edition of "A history of Israel" by Andrew Sachur, and the point was made that King Feisal of Syria, and his brother King Abdullah of Jordan, they got along well with the government of Israel.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
A historical note of what is at stake:

The Syrian Church is the oldest church in Christendom and was at the center of 1,200 years of Christianity that spanned Africa, Asia and the Middle East with communities extending as far as China.

While the Church in Europe expanded along the framework of the Roman Empire, the Syrian Church followed another, ancient tradition, which suggests a very different course.

Europe's is not the only version of the Christian faith, nor is it necessarily the oldest heir of the ancient church. For more than 1,200 years, other quite separate branches of the church established thriving communities across Asia, and in their sheer numbers, these churches were comparable to anything Europe could muster at the time.

The Syrian church traces its ancestry back not through Rome, but directly to the original Jesus movement of ancient Palestine. They moved across India, Central Asia, and China, showing no hesitation to share - and learn from - the other great religions of the East.

Just how far these Christians were prepared to go is suggested by a startling symbol that appeared on memorials and stone carvings in both southern India and coastal China during the early Middle Ages. The image depicts a cross, but it takes a moment to realize that the base of the picture - the root from which the cross is growing - is a lotus flower, the symbol of Buddhist enlightenment.

Christianity has from its earliest days been an intercontinental faith, as firmly established in Asia and Africa as in Europe itself. Looking at the faith in toto. by 800 or so it stretched from Ireland to Korea. Christians interacted in many different ways with other believers, in encounters that reshaped both sides. At their best, these meetings allowed the traditions not just to exchange ideas but to intertwine in productive and enriching ways, in an awe-inspiring chapter of Christian history that the Western churches have all but forgotten.

When Syrian Christians were pressing across Central Asia during the sixth and seventh centuries, they met the missionaries and saints of an equally confident and expansionist religion: Mahayana Buddhism. Buddhists too wanted to take their saving message to the world, and launched great missions from India's monasteries and temples. In this diverse world, Buddhist and Christian monasteries were likely to stand side by side, as neighbors and even, sometimes, as collaborators. Some historians believe that Christian missionaries influenced the religious practices of the Buddhist religion then developing in Tibet. Monks spoke to monks.

In presenting their faith, Christians naturally used the cultural forms that would be familiar to Asians. They told their stories in the forms of sutras, verse patterns already made famous by Buddhist missionaries and teachers. A stunning collection of Jesus Sutras was found in caves at Dunhuang, in northwest China. Some Syrian Christian writings draw heavily on Buddhist ideas, as they translate prayers and Christian services in ways that would make sense to Asian readers. In some texts, the Christian phrase "angels and archangels and hosts of heaven" is translated into the language of buddhas and devas.

In 782, the Indian Buddhist missionary Prajna arrived in Chang'an, bearing rich treasures of sutras and other scriptures. Unfortunately, these were written in Indian languages. He consulted the local Christian bishop, Adam, who had already translated parts of the Bible into Chinese. Together, Buddhist and Christian scholars worked amiably together for some years to translate seven copious volumes of Buddhist wisdom. Probably, Adam did this as much from intellectual curiosity as from ecumenical good will, and we can only guess about the conversations that would have ensued: Do you really care more about relieving suffering than atoning for sin? And your monks meditate like ours do?

These efforts bore fruit far beyond China. Other residents of Chang'an at this very time included Japanese monks, who took these very translations back with them to their homeland. In Japan, these works became the founding texts of the great Buddhist schools of the Middle Ages. All the famous movements of later Japanese history, including Zen, can be traced to one of those ancient schools and, ultimately - incredibly - to the work of a Christian bishop.

Yes, there is more........
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bush is responsible for the Christian apocalypse in Iraq and now Obama lights the fuse for the Christian apocalypse in Syria.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The letter to Obama from the Russian Orthodox Church just wasted the postage for Obama has no thought for the Christians in this Nation, nor does he have any thought for any belief system other that Islam, people should notice the ring that Obama wears on his finger and has worn for many, many years. It is a ring of faith to Islam.... This should tell us something about Him......
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The anniversary of the church burnings in Alabama was all over the news the past few days, but the media just can't bring themselves to put a scourge on the house of Muslim Brotherhood over the church burnings in Egypt. Strange.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have actually been deployed to Saudi Arabia and I can say from personal experience they are total a-holes. After watching the raw video from 9-11 last week I am amazed that they are still considered our 'allies'. We are forced to do business with them but, honestly, I couldn't care less if the Iranians threaten to nuke Riyadh into a glowing cinder.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Other Arabs hate the Saudis too. But the Saudis and the USA both fear an ascendant Iran. The Brits called this "the great game" back when they had an empire.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
We should not forget one thing - The Russian Patriarch is just one of the cards in the deck of Putin. There is no doubt that he wrote his message to Obama after receiving blessings for this from yesterday's atheist Putin.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a total lack of "TOLERANCE" for Christians.. This War is more about religious dominance than political dominance.. That to the MUSLIMS is one and the same.. There is no room for any one or any other belief in the Syria or the rest of the Muslim world.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Christians were murdered in Libya and Egypt and now in Syria.

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/08/20/christians-murdered-all-over-egypt-new-puppy-at-white-house/?print=1

Christians Murdered All Over Egypt, New Puppy at White House

Posted By J. Christian Adams On August 20, 2013 @ 6:51 am In Politics | 40 Comments

It’s Sunny at the White House! But not in Egypt, if you are a Christian or a Franciscan nun. All over the country, Christian churches are being burned, Christians murdered, and nuns paraded in the streets as “prisoners of war.”

The “war”: this can only mean a war of Islam vs. Christianity, right? What other “war” could they be prisoners of? (Their words, not mine.) The Muslim Brotherhood and their thug adherents are conducting a war of genocide against Christians, trying to erase the Copts – one of the oldest Christian groups in the world – from the land.

Once upon a time in America, the American president would have stood before the world, over and over again, and provided a moral counterweight to this evil. The great figures of the 20th century became great by denouncing evil and condemning genocidal and religious persecution: Reagan, Churchill, Wojtyla.

But Obama is no Wojtyla. He has remained nearly silent on the Muslim Brotherhood’s bloody war on Egypt’s Christians. The martyrs pile up; he plays golf.

The thugs rampaging through Egyptian churches, you see, are Obama’s thugs. He destabilized Egypt by giving the green light to Hosni Mubarak’s fall. After all, Mubarak was an American stooge, a puppet, a toy of imperial America and all that left-wing drool Obama has subscribed to since he was writing articles in college denouncing the deployment of Pershing missiles in Europe. Now his thugs rampage through holy places, destroying.

(snip)

That an American president has remained almost silent only adds to the disgrace. Perhaps that first domino Obama sent tumbling keeps him quiet.

Yet there is plenty of time to promote a new puppy at the White House! A high-gloss, taxpayer-funded video features the arrival of Sunny (watch here).

Priorities, I suppose. The low-information crowd will see images of the new puppy in People, but not the nuns paraded down the street. The vapid afternoon television talk shows will run the White House video, but not video of mobs destroying churches.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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