“Ethnic Cleansing” of Christians in Homs

While the world, March 14 and the LF (the protector of the Christians in the Lebanon and sometimes they claim in the region (as MP Geagea noted yesterday) are silent concerning what is really happening to the Christians in Syria, the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Homs is almost done. We saw what happened in Iraq, we saw what is going in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Is it right to stay silent about the status of the Christians in Syria because we want to bring down the Syrian regime? Is our quest to bring down this regime should force us to stay silent regarding the crime that is being done to the Christians in Syria? If we oppose the “Wilayat al Faqih” in Lebanon how can we support Al-Khilafa al-Islamiya in Syria? The following is an article published by Fides News Agency (Fides). Fides was created on 5 June, 1927, by order of the Council Superior General of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, as the first Missionary Agency of the Church and among the first agencies in the world, at the service of informing and promoting missionary activity. It is the official Vatican News Agency.

ASIA/SYRIA – Abuse of the opposition forces, “ethnic cleansing” of Christians in Homs, where Jesuits remains

Damascus (Agenzia Fides) – While the Syrian opposition forces have been guilty of violence, abuse, torture – as stated in a report released yesterday by the NGO “Human Rights Watch” – in Homs there is “an ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians”, carried out by some Islamist members of the “Brigade Faruq”. So says a note sent to Fides by some sources in the Syrian Orthodox Church, which includes 60% of Christians in Syria. Militant armed Islamists – says the note – have managed to expel 90% of Christians in Homs and confiscated their homes by force. According to Orthodox Metropolitan sources, the militants went door to door in the neighborhoods of Hamidiya and Bustan al-Diwan, forcing Christians to flee, without giving them the chance to take their belongings. In the “Faruq Brigade”, note other sources, there seems to be armed elements of various Wahhabi groups and mercenaries from Libya and Iraq.
The Vicar Apostolic of Aleppo, Mgr. Giuseppe Nazzaro told Fides: “We have no sources to confirm this information directly, but we can say that these relationships are beginning to break down the wall of silence built up to now by the press worldwide. In this situation Islamist and terrorist movements are making headway”. The Vicar remembers with concern some recent episodes: “Last Sunday, a car bomb exploded in Aleppo packed with TNT, in the vicinity of the school of the Franciscan fathers. By a miracle a massacre of children was avoided, at the Center of catechesis of the Church of St. Bonaventure: only because the Franciscan, sensing danger, made the children leave 15 minutes before the usual time. Other bombs exploded in Damascus: these are bad signs for religious minorities”. On the prospects of the situation, the Vicar says, “I am confident that peace can return: for this we Christians count on constant praying”.
Meanwhile, in Homs, say sources of Fides, some Jesuits who have decided to stay in the city are giving a heroic witness: promising to bring comfort and humanitarian aid to people in need, they fulfill their mission being “bridge builders”. The religious claim that the forces involved are inspired to tolerance, cultural and religious pluralism, calling for dialogue, rejecting violence and calling for respect for human dignity and values of the Gospel. The Jesuits in Syria are engaged in the service to young people, refugees, education of children and adults, interreligious dialogue, in rural development projects. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/3/2012)

24 thoughts on ““Ethnic Cleansing” of Christians in Homs”

  1. i do not give a damn about all the Christians of Syria, because when we were getting slaughtered, imprisonned, bombarded and tortured in Achrafieh and zahlee and Ein el Remaneh, they were supporting the Baathi filthy regime….to Hell with all of them.

    1. I wouldn’t say I do not give a damn. I do. Even though I agree with you on where were they when we were killed by the Syrian regime but I care of what is going on to them. First if they didn’t react to what was done to us, it doesn’t mean I should act the same way. I look into what will happen in the future if their presence is came to end in Syria. After all I share with them the same future. They didn’t see it this way because they were blind, or under threat or what ever. I am not blind and I know that if they are finished in Syria, the pressure on me as a Christian in Lebanon will be doubled.

      1. I know a guy name George who is a Syrian and lives in Montreal to be exact, he was living in Canada him and all his family, so he was not under pressure or threat whatsoever, but still he was a staunch defender of the Baathi regime who killed or caused the killing of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese Christians, also displaced and caused 100s of thousands to immigrate.
        Whether you are under pressure or not, you cannot side with the killer, and also being blind is not an excuse, a blind cannot justify murder, a blind murderer is just as guilty. …Harriri, Murr and jumblat are example also, if you want to forgive the Christians of syria, then you should forgive jumblatt, Murr and harriri, cause they were under pressure and blind.

        1. For sure many Syrian Christians supports this regime now as they did before because they believe in it and its fight against Israel … I met several who had nothing in common with me on the political level. But this doesn’t mean I can’t think ahead and see the danger that will rise once the scenario of Iraq is implemented in Syria. I am not sure why I sense that when I speak about protecting the community and talking about the threat they will face once the regime falls, you think I am against bringing down this regime. I think I was clear on many occasions when I said this regime must be changed. I even questioned why don’t we start filing cases in France against the old guard who is living there: Khaddam. No one is disputing here the atrocity done by this regime. I am talking on what will come after. This is something that should be the concern of all us. It is not enough (I can say it is suicidal) to simplify things and they let this regime fall and we will see what happen.

  2. Can you please post this story. It goes to show you that Turkey is the best country to get involved in Syria.

    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-276525-turkeys-top-muslim-cleric-slams-saudi-mufti-over-his-call-to-destroy-churches.html

    Turkey’s top Muslim cleric slams Saudi mufti over his call to destroy churches

    Turkey’s top imam blasted the Saudi grand mufti’s call to “destroy all the churches” in the Gulf region, saying that the announcement is in total contradiction to the peaceful teachings of the Muslim religion.

    Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Mehmet Görmez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, said he cannot accept the Islamic religious order –fatwa — issued by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Shaikh, adding that the mufti’s remarks run contrary to the centuries-old Islamic teachings of tolerance and the sanctity of institutions belonging to other religions.

    He emphasized that Islam has always respected religious freedom. “The opinion of the grand mufti also obviously contradicts the agreements that the Prophet of Islam signed with the non-Muslim communities both in Medina and in the region. It also plainly overlooks the right of immunity given by Islam to the holy shrines and temples of other religions on the basis of the rule of law throughout its history,” Görmez explained.

    Sheikh Abdulaziz reportedly made the controversial statement during a meeting with a delegation from the Kuwait-based Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage in response to a query about Shariah law concerning the construction of churches in Muslim countries. He issued the fatwa in March, saying that further church building should be banned and existing Christian houses of worship should be destroyed.

    Görmez slammed Abdulaziz, stating, “We strongly believe that this declaration has left dark shadows upon the concept of rights and freedoms in Islam that have always been observed on the basis of its sources, and it will not be recorded as an opinion of Islam.” He also added, “We, therefore, entirely reject the aforementioned opinion and hope that it will be amended as soon as possible.”

    Turkey’s top Muslim cleric challenged the Saudi grand mufti’s assertions on the established principles in Islam. “We believe that the mentioned opinion is evidently against the aims of Islam, especially in a region that witnessed the descent of the Holy Quran and the first application of the Sunnah of the Prophet. It is against the Muslim tradition’s established practice of respecting non-Muslims’ rights as well,” he noted.

      1. I did read the article, wasn’t aware the situation was as bad as it was in Turkey. However, compared to Saudi Arabia or probably any other Arab country period, it’s a beacon of light. Ottoman’s & Wahabi’s have always been arch foes as Wahabis have seen the Ottoman’s less religiosity as a threat. Both country’s are vying for leverage in Syria right now, both have capabilities of spreading their influence. Turkey being on the border of Syria, and having a Sunni Islamic majority could have the edge if they use their influence effectively. Most of the atrocities against Christians in Turkey have occurred, like the article says before 1953.

        I believe that the “Top Turkish Imam” should be praised for condemning the Grand Mufti’s remarks. The Grand Mufti holds the highest clerical position for Islam in Saudi Arabia and for the Turkish Imam, who is the highest ranking clerical position in Turkey to openly scold him is something he should be recognized for. Did you see the difference in how the Turkish Imam dressed as opposed to how the Saudi Mufti (or any other Saudi cleric dresses) for that matter? You have one side here open to moderation and advancement, and you have the other side (Saudi style side) closed and unwilling to use modernized thought rationale. Turkey has at least advanced as a society, they have even banned the death penalty. It shows you they are more open to change.

        You have to chose which side to support. You cannot have perfection. Right now the players are limited and I think Turkey is the best country to lead, by far the lesser of the evil. Turkey is better then Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Egypt., Libya, or any other Arab country.

        As for your article, it mentions that the terrorists were indoctrinated by Wahabism and from Libya and Iraq. Well the situation in Syria has become a war, and everyone is killing everyone. Nobody should be targeted or killed because of their background, whether they are Sunnis or Alawites or Druze or Christians, but that is what it has become. Bashar Assad is mass murdering mostly Sunnis and the Sunnis are taking it out on the Alawites, and the Alawite militias are committing atrocities themselves against Sunnis. Christians seem to be in the middle and are mostly playing it neutral without getting involved.

        I agree with Kasarjian, there are some bad Syrian Christians. I remember arguing with them many times on the Internet wondering what kind of idiot Christian they could be long before the ‘unrest’ started in Syria but that doesn’t give anyone an excuse to butcher someone for being Christian (or Muslim) for that matter. There are Christians opposed to Assad and also Christians who have been killed by Assad, jailed, and tortured.

        An attack on one minority group is an attack on everyone. Anywhere.

        1. Kanaan,

          Maybe you should read this in order to have a better picture:

          Turkey Added to List of Worst Religious Freedom Offenders for Mistreatment of Christian Minority

          Washington, D.C. March 26 (ICC) – An annual U.S. government report added Turkey for the first time to a list of worst violators of religious freedoms, alongside countries such as Iran and North Korea.

          The report released by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on March 20 urged the State Department to designate Turkey as a “country of particular concern” (CPC), faulting the ally’s treatment of religious minorities, especially Christians. Though unlikely, the recommendation could subject Turkey to sanctions if designated a CPC by the State Department. Last year, the State Department designated only eight countries as CPCs of a total of 14 recommended by USCIRF.

          The vote, which passed by a narrow 5 to 4 margin, was “strongly” opposed by some commissioners who said that Turkey has begun to “rectify many of [its] religious freedom restrictions.” Other commissioners, however, are not as optimistic.

          “[Turkey’s recommendation] may surprise some. After all, Turkey’s methods of religious control and repression stand in contrast to the bloody, un-self-conscious crackdowns found in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and North Korea,” USCIRF commissioner Nina Shea wrote in the National Review Online. “These days, Turkey uses more sophisticated, subtler measures that are resulting in the elimination of its Christian and non-Muslim minorities.”

          “Turkey’s Christian minorities struggle to find places in which they can worship, are denied seminaries in which to train future leaders, are barred from wearing clerical garb in public, see the trials of the murderers of their prominent members end with impunity, and, above all, lack the legal right to be recognized as churches…” Shea continued. “Turkey’ s laws, aimed at promoting extreme secular nationalism, also encourage a culture of animosity toward Christians, who are seen to undermine ‘Turkishness,’ despite Christianity’s 2,000-year presence there.”

          Commissioners who voted in favor of Turkey’s CPC recommendation say that the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had been given ample time to improve religious freedom within its borders, but did little during the reporting period which covers April 2011 – February 2012.

          “It’s what they didn’t do for another year,” USCIRF Chair Leonardo Leo told the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman in response to why Turkey was recommended as a CPC.

          Turkey joined Tajikistan as the newly recommended CPC designations in 2012. The list also includes Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

          1. Dear Kanan,

            The Turkish population has a very negative view of Christianity and Christians. Erdogan is an Islamist. Any tolerance of Christianity in Turkey in the 20th century was post Ottoman era under the secularization policies of Ataturk. Military coups are what kept Turkey secular for so long.

            http://www.pewglobal.org/2011/07/21/muslim-western-tensions-persist/

            Only 6 percent of Turks view Christians favorably. You should read about the Assyrian homes razed in Turkey over the last 20 years. Turkey is not much better than Saudi Arabia.

  3. Kasarjian, I leave you with Sheikh Duqmaq to read and think of what will come and how will you face it. By the way, he is in Lebanon and not in Syria. What makes him different than Wilayat al Faqih?

    اعتبر الشيخ بلال دقماق ان العلويين ليسوا مسلمين، وان كان الاشخاص من غير السنة وغير الشيعة فهم ليسوا مسلمين، والله قال في القرآن الكريم “فلقد كفر الذين قالوا ان الله ثالث الثلاثة”، فهو سمح لي ان أكفر الناس”.
    وعن الموضوع السوري قال دقماق في حديث لقناة “أى.إن.بي”: ” الله اوجد الناس للمحافظة على بعضهم وليس ليقتلوا بعضهم”.
    ورأى أن هناك 73 مليون مصري مسلم يحمون 12 مليون مسيحي من الأقباط، سائلا “هل يريد لاقباط في مصر ان يحكم 500 مليون مسلم عربي؟”، معتبرا ان “الجيش في مصر مسلم”، مشيرا الى أنن “لا نقول ان الاقباط ممنوع ان يكونوا موجودين في مصر وهذا أمر غير صحيح”.

  4. Kasarjian I also leave you with this video. This is what u have to day and will have more tomorrow. If you have hard time facing Wilayat al Faqih in Lebanon today, Imagine how hard it will be when you will face the Sunnite of Bilad al SHam:

  5. Al-Nousayri , means Al-Alawi. And not to be confused with the Al-Nasaara or Al-Nasraanii.

    And by the way a Syrian Christian neighbor of mine, who is from Homs and has family in Homs, dinied any ethnic cleansing…

    My personal impression is that there will not remain one Nousayri in Syria on the long run.
    And not one Christian if the Christians decide to follow the politics of Patriarch Raii.

    Cheers.

  6. Just to add to the whole complexity of this issue, it is estimated that there are 15 to 20 million Turkish Alawites, or “Alevis” as they are called in Turkey. There are only about 2.2 million inside Syria. I only recently found this out and it explains why Turkey has been reluctant to put an end to Assad.

    Michel if you will allow this link to the US State department this will prove that there are really that many of Assad’s co-religionists in Turkey. Incredible.
    http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2007/90204.htm

  7. Elias, Alevis and Alawis are not exactly the same.
    Although both of them practice high veneration for Ali Bin Abi Taleb, they differ in other aspects.
    But both of them being closer to Shia than to Sunni would back your point about Turkey’s cold feet.

  8. My physician is a Syrian Christian from Homs and he never mentioned to me that there is a Christian ethnic cleansing going on in Homs..ya cedar afendi stop using the fear mongering tactics, it will not work again..

    salemto el hakim..

  9. Seeman, no one is asking you to get scared and for sure I didn’t ask you to do so. I hoped that the above article made you think of what will happen and how will you face or prevent what happened to Christians in Iraq to occur in Syria. Anyway, I am sure Fides News Agency (Fides) the Vatican News Agency is not asking you to be afraid and better source of info than your physician.

    1. Kanaan, do you know wHo is behind the meforum and what they stand for? ReAd the section about us: robustly asserting U.S. interests vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia …
      We all know what Saudi Arabia think about the Christians.

  10. Here you go, from Fides (the Vatican) 5 days after the “Christian Genocide” report, The Baathi are the Ones to Blame for the Christian’s situation.

    2012-03-26
    ASIA/SYRIA – The Jesuits: “Christians have fled from Homs, not thrown out by Islamists”
    invia articolo printable version preferiti Homs (Agenzia Fides) – The faithful Christians living in the Bustan Al Diwan and Hamideh neighborhoods, in the city of Homs, have left the area and fled on their own initiative because of fear and conflict and were not forced to leave their homes because of threats on behalf of Islamist militia: this is what is reported to Fides by the Jesuit community of Homs. In past days, some sources in the Orthodox Christian community had told Fides that some Christian families in the two districts had been thrown out by militant Islamists. Other sources in the Middle East countries have repeatedly spoken of the militant Islamic extremists travels from Libya, Iraq and other nations toward Syria, with the aim to infiltrate in the ranks of the Free Syrian Army.
    The Jesuits of Homs told Fides that “as far as we know, the Christians in the city of Homs have not been threatened and forced to flee their homes”. “There were some incidents – they explain – where houses left empty (by Christians) were occupied by displaced families. But when the owners returned, their homes were given back in a peaceful manner. One of the imams of the area – they add – apologized to the priest of the Jesuit church, because of these unfortunate incidents”.
    The Christian areas of Homs, note sources of Fides, are at the center of the crossfire between army and rebels. In Homs there are about 1,000 Christians. A year ago, before the start of the fighting, there were in town, on the whole, 160 thousand faithful and four Bishops of various denominations. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 26/3/2012)

  11. I am not totally sure. I am not a regular reader of their site, I actually came across this link reading another article about Saudi Arabia. If either sites information is true, I am sure it could be verified by a reputable source from Syria.

  12. we all see, what happens after “democratic revolutions” in Egypt, Yemen and especially Libya (sponsored by salafies from SA an Qatar). beheading (now and in Syria), desecrated cemetery in Libya, Iraq , emirate in Derna and Al Baida … the same things will be in Syria after this fake revolts, inspired by nondemocratic countries like Qatar.
    Turkey support fight for the rights of syrians, but why they don’t support Kurdish independence or autonomy???

  13. About the Turkish Grand Imam: Not even George W. Bush condemned Saudi Arabia after 17 (of the 19 suicide terrorists from 9/11) flew 2 planes into New York city and killed 3,000 Americans. We constantly hear hatred preached against Christians coming from Saudi Arabia and most of the entire world is silent. I think it is great a Muslim leader, specifically the Muslim leader of a large Islamic nation like Turkey scolded the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia over his comments. That is exactly what the world needs, Muslim leaders standing up against the likes of Saudi preachers. We can’t go back into time, and even though this leader is just one man who may or may not represent the Turkish way, I still respect him for his comments.

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