The doubly dire plight of Syria’s Christian refugees

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By Steve Weatherbe
Western countries are ignoring the reality that they will never be allowed to go home
Syrian refugees: Unlike their Muslim countrymen, Syrian Christians will never be able safely to return.
Awash in a flood of 2.6 million refugees driven out of Syria by its incomprehensible civil war, the Christian minority among the displaced are unlikely to fare any better in the longer term in surrounding countries than they did in Syria. The Middle East’s total Christian component has shrunk from 30 percent to 10 percent in the last century, driven out their ancient homelands by threats and murder just like the Jews were following the creation of Israel in 1948. As each Muslim state experiences its own internal meltdown, intra-Muslim combatants can always spare some AK-47 rounds for Christians, whose communities predate their own by five or six centuries. Western countries are generously funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to support these refugees within the region, but showing a marked reluctance to repeat the large-scale resettlement accorded the South Vietnamese after the communists triumphed there in the 1970s. Canada has budgeted $300 million over several years to sustain Syrian refugees in such countries as Lebanon, a basket case itself with 1 million displaced Syrians of the 2.6 million now homeless around the Middle East, mainly in Jordan and Turkey. Dollars yes, visas no But Canada will only accept a paltry 1,300 refugees into Canada, with no priority for Christians, or any recognition that they might be especially needful of succour. The United States has spent $1.4 billion in humanitarian aid and now promises $300 million more, but plans to accept only 2,000 refugees this year, but last year it took only 30 who were lucky enough to make it through U.S.’s increasingly rigid national security filter. The West’s unstated message to the region is, solve your own refugee problem. Though harsh, it is perhaps realistic. What is not realistic, some are saying, is to treat all Syrian refugees the same, or rather to treat Christians as if they are no more needful than Muslims of new homelands. One man saying this is Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independent Party, who believes the Muslims can find other Muslims to help them locally, while the Christians are everywhere being pushed out. Joining him is backbench Tory MP Gerald Howarth, who opposed the government’s plan to let in Syrians refugees wholesale saying, “As a Christian country, we should prioritise Christians who are being persecuted in Syria.” Both could be accused of playing to popular sentiment, because Muslim immigration is increasingly unpopular due to reports of “Islamification” of neighborhoods and schools by Muslim young men using strong arm tactics. –
Increasing frustration In Canada there is increasing frustration among Middle Eastern Christian communities, over an immigration service apparently determined to accept as few newcomers as possible. Surrey, B.C. priest Father Sarmad Biloues is especially anxious to bring refugees to his parish because Syrians took in him and other Iraqi Catholic refugees when they were forced to flee that country by the Iraq War. “They accepted us when we were refugees there and had nothing,” he says. “We would love to bring them here.”

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