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Editorial: Barnabas charts deepening pli...

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Editorial: Barnabas charts deepening plight of Christians in Syria on timeline

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Editorial: Barnabas charts deepening plight of Christians in Syria on timeline

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Syria

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Editorial: Barnabas charts dee...

Christians forced out

Christian areas targeted

Is the end nigh?

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As the crisis in Syria appears to be reaching a critical phase, Barnabas Aid has charted the suffering of the Christian community in a categorised timeline to show how targeted violence against them has intensified. Will the international community take note of their plight before it is too late?

Our timeline, which begins in April 2011 as violent “Arab Spring” protests were spreading through the country, has been compiled using a combination of media reports and first-hand information from our contacts in Syria. To protect our sources, we have not been able to name many of the victims.

The timeline reveals how anti-Christian hostility has become more and more brazen as the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has gained strength, with Islamist jihadi groups playing an increasingly influential role among the rebels.

In the early days of the unrest, Christians, who have been well treated under President Assad and are therefore more inclined to support his regime, came under pressure to join the uprising. Demonstrations in Homs, which was to become a key battleground, were staged in Christian areas to intimidate the Christian residents, while elsewhere, in Hala, Christians were given an ultimatum either to join the protests or to leave.

It was not long before intimidation turned into violent attacks. The Christian community in Homs was beset by a spate of kidnappings and killings. In November 2011, a respected Christian figure reported that more than 140 Christians in the city had been murdered. The violence has continued unabated and spread to other parts of the country. The Christian death toll from Homs has risen to around 300 while in Aleppo, over 130 Christians have been killed.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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Daily prayer

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  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 7 hours ago

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

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