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Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Syria

Barnabas Fund is today launching an urgent petition calling on Western governments to take action on behalf of Syria’s endangered Christian minority. We need your help to get as many signatures as soon as possible as the conflict escalates and their plight deepens.

Maaloula is one of the most historic centres of Christianity in the world
Maaloula is one of the most historic centres of Christianity in the world
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by HappyTellus

Syrian Christians, who comprise around ten per cent of the country’s population, are increasingly vulnerable as the brutal civil war rages on.

A siege over the last week at the Christian village of Maaloula – one of the most famous and historic centres of Christianity in the world – has magnified the stark threat to the minority community’s very survival in the country.

Al-Qaeda-linked rebels seized control of the village, where Aramaic, the ancient language spoken by Jesus, is still used; fighting against government forces is ongoing. The rebels have been attacking Christian homes and churches, destroying Christian symbols.

The bodies of Christians killed in the violent takeover have been left lying in the streets, and Christian residents have been threatened with beheading if they do not convert to Islam. Six young Christians have been taken captive.

Maaloula has been left a ghost town, as most of its population of around 3,000 has fled.

Many Christian communities in other parts of Syria have been ravaged in this horrific manner throughout the civil war. They are being deliberately targeted by Islamists among the opposition forces because of their faith.

The future of the Church in Syria, which dates back to New Testament times, is now hanging in the balance as Christians run out of safe havens. Around 600,000 have fled the country, and even more are internally displaced.

Barnabas Fund’s petition therefore calls on Western governments to take action to protect and help the vulnerable community.

Please sign the petition and forward it to others. You can download a copy to print and circulate in your church and community here Download; paper copies can be obtained by contacting your nearest Barnabas Fund office. You are welcome to photocopy the sheet.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:

When we see the distressing footage from Syria on our television screens, we want to do something to help but feel incredibly powerless. Signing and circulating our petition is something you can do to make a difference. We must work together to make the plight of Syria’s Christians known to those with the power to intervene and influence events.