After Maaloula, now Sadad: Ongoing Attacks by Militant Muslims against Syria’s Native Christians who continue to flee en masse

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Message World Council of Arameans (Syriacs)

 

 


It is five to twelve, the extinction of native Aramaic Christianity in Syria is imminent. The time has come for politicians and reporters to fearlessly stand up for the truth, bring to justice the perpetrators of such cowardly crimes against humanity and those who support them, and help Syria’s Christians and other threatened minorities to stay in the land of their ancestors.

The WCA urgently calls upon the United Nations Security Council, the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to adopt a Resolution on these war crimes and help to find a lasting solution for the ongoing persecution of the Christians in the Middle East.

Recently a number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) already initiated this Motion for a Resolution on recent cases of violence and persecution against Christians. Among others, it condemns the attack against the ancient Aramean Christian town of Maaloula, north of Damascus. We applaud their efforts and request them and other MEPs to update (if possible) this Motion and/or adopt a similar Resolution which strongly condemns the latest shameless assault against Sadad, another Aramean Christian town which dates back to the Biblical period and which has resulted in the mass exodus and killing of women, children and elderly civilians.

As the flight of the native Christians from the Middle East continues, this latest heinous attack once again underscores the urgent need of an EU policy to protect the vulnerable minorities in the Middle East. For a Special EU Envoy or Rapporteur who will be responsible for monitoring their situation in the region and publish (semi-)annual progress reports, see our proposal which may guarantee and assess:

A. the official recognition and appreciation of the irrefutable indigenous status of non-Muslim populations by the EU, since the Governments in the Middle East still refuse to do so;
B. the protection of these vulnerable groups and their endangered cultural heritage from the widely spread stereotypes, discrimination, marginalisation and persecutions;
C. a secure future of these indigenous populations in their traditional habitats;
D. a budget or fund to be created for these decimated and marginalised populations to maintain their own civil society organisations; invest in their socio-economical situation; prevent ongoing migration flows and promote the return of those who already escaped their homeland.

On behalf of the native and endangered Christians from Syria, the WCA thanks you for your critical support. Moreover, if you wish to help the victims of Sadad and Hafar, who are now in urgent need of our humanitarian aid, you can donate to the WCA under “Help Sadad and Hafar”.

The WCA and its Member Federations will donate generously to this cause and ensure that your help will also reach the needy victims of this heinous war crime.

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Jihadists again attack Christian towns in Syria: the Deafening silence and indifference continues

After the recent attacks by militant Muslims against Maaloula and al-Raqqa, the world has witnessed another organized assault against 2 Christian places in Syria. The Biblical town of Sadad and Hafar were besieged and destroyed. While 3,000 Christian families managed to escape, 1,500 families were held hostage and used as human shields from 21 to 28 October. Syria’s Christians, who are increasingly yet silently fleeing their homeland, continue to be appalled by the deafening silence of the world on such unpunished crimes against humanity.

On 21 October, seven militant Muslim groups joined forces in laying siege on the Biblical town of Sadad (see Numbers 34:8 and Ezekiel 15:47). Before the Syrian Army liberated it on 28 October, Jubhat al-Nusra (blacklisted as a terrorist organization) and the Katibat al-Mahawer brigade of the Free Syrian Army (recognized and supported by Western and Muslim nations) who formed part of this diabolic alliance, held 1500 Aramean Christian families for a full week hostage and used them shamelessly as human shields, including women, children and elderly civilians.

H.E. Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, the Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama who oversees the towns of Sadad and Hafar, describesurgent need of help for the victims: “Our people are traumatized and are governed by the fear that there is no secure place in Syria left. They have been used for one week as human shields and they have lost all that they had built up in their hometown. On their urgent behalf, I make a plea to the international community for humanitarian aid. During this winter, those who left but especially those who wish to return to their homes are in dire need of food, water, clothes, medicine and money to rebuild or restore their destroyed houses.”

Christians and other minority groups are being uprooted from their homelands by intolerant Muslim forces. In the past decades, we have seen little to no rejection or opposition to such atrocities and war crimes from governments in the Middle East. Even in the West, politicians and the media have responded with deafening silence and indifference to the ongoing human rights violations against the endangered native populations. Many governments and media organisations are fearful of criticising the Islamists, but all to the detriment of the Christians and other vulnerable minorities.

Click below to read more and to view dozens of images taken after the Sadad attack.

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Syriac Orthodox Bishop from Damascus asks Dutch and German Parliaments, Media and Christian NGOs for Help

Berlin, 19 October 2013

From 16-18 October 2013, the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”) hosted the Syriac Orthodox Bishop H.E Dionysius Jean Kawak from the Syrian capital for a lecture, presentation, meetings and interviews in the Netherlands and Germany.

On Wednesday, the Church in Action organized a conference for a number of Christian NGOs at the headquarters of the Protestant National Service Center in Utrecht, close to Amsterdam. There were about 30 representatives, including reporters from national TV Channels and newspapers.

H.E. Bishop Kawak is the Patriarchal Office Director of the Damascus-based St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee which provides humanitarian aid to the needy, especially the Christians. He outlined the problems, challenges and needs of the Christians in Syria, particularly of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

The next morning, Mr. Messo and Mr. Duim had arranged via the Member of Parliament Mr. Pieter Omtzigt (Christian Democrat) that H.E. Bishop Kawak could give a presentation on the dire conditions of Syria’s neglected Christians for the Permanent Commission of Foreign Affairs in the Dutch Parliament in The Hague. After this, the delegation met with the Humanitarian Aid Department and the Political Department of the Dutch Foreign Ministry to ask for more support to Syria’s Christians.

On Friday, the first meeting took place with the Humanitarian Aid Department of Germany’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. The delegation then met with the Director of the Syria Department in order to discuss political support of Germany to the Christians of Syria, such as speaking out for the participation of the Christians in the Geneva 2 Conference, if it will be held this year.

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WCA sends EU Turkey Rapporteur recommendations regarding Resolution

Stockholm, 4 November 2013

On Friday, 1 November 2013 the European Parliament’s Turkey Rapporteur, Ms. Ria Oomen-Ruijten, and her delegation visited the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Istanbul and Ankara to review the situation of Turkey’s native Arameans. Ms. Oomen-Ruijten was in the country to prepare a Motion for a Resolution on Turkey’s 2013 Progress Report, which the European Commission published last month. This meeting had been arranged by the WCA, which also sent a letter to the Turkey Rapporteur that included the below recommendations concerning the future presence of the native Arameans in Turkey.

Recommendation 1: Recognition by Constitution as Minority and Indigenous People

We respectfully ask the European Parliament to make the following Recommendation to Turkey, along a similar line of Resolution 1704 adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 27 January 2010:

“the European Parliament calls upon Turkey to have the forthcoming Constitution recognize, promote and protect the Aramean people as a minority, which moreover is indigenous to Southeast Turkey, in conformity with the Lausanne Treaty and related international conventions which guarantee their fundamental human rights and dignity; this shall include, but not be limited to, officially developing their education and carrying out religious services in their Aramaic mother tongue.”

Recommendation 2: Expropriation of Aramean lands beyond St. Gabriel Monastery

We request the following Recommendation is put to Turkey:

“the European Parliament continues to express concern about the status of the unlawful appropriation of significant amounts of land in Southeast Turkey historically and legally belonging to many ancient Aramean monasteries, churches and proprietors.”

We both agree that the quintessential values of minority rights and democracy are the underpinnings of a civilized society and are indispensable for European stability and progress. Our Recommendations are rather simple and merely a reflection of what is required in response to the deplorable realities faced by Turkey’s minorities, especially the vulnerable ones.

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