We need 'prayers and action' to help Syria, says Archbishop
Wednesday 10th July 2013The Archbishop said it is "absolutely clear" that Christians in Syria are being persecuted
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has called for prayers and action to support persecuted Christians in Syria.
He also encouraged people to write to MPs and “ask them to think very carefully" before supplying weapons to the region.
The Archbishop was speaking on Monday at a special meeting on Syria hosted by NGO Open Doors during General Synod in York.
As the situation reaches crisis point and thousands of Christians are forced to flee the country, Archbishop Justin highlighted the increasingly urgent need for prayer and backed a ‘Save Syria’ petition, which currently has over 30,000 signatures.
He said: ‘It's absolutely clear that Christians in Syria are being persecuted. We know for example that in many areas of Aleppo - historic Christian areas since the first century - people are being chased out in large numbers. I would encourage people to pray very strongly, continue to pray and to support this kind of campaign, and to write to MPs asking them to think very carefully about the wisdom of supplying further weapons to an area of such complex and extreme violence.”
Over 1.6m Syrians have become refugees since the conflict began in 2011, with the number set to rise further. Open Doors have this week launched a report which highlights evidence of Christians being deliberately targeted in the country.
Such reports include the situation in a half-Christian, half-Muslim town, where the around 7,000 Christian families were told from the minarets to leave or be slaughtered one by one.
The Archbishop, who was invited by Open Doors to share his personal reflections from his recent visit to the region, spoke alongside Stephen Rand from Open Doors, Eliyana Francis from Middle East Concern, and the Syrian-born Revd Nadim Nassar.
They each emphasised the importance of raising awareness and support for suffering Christians in the Middle East within churches and communities across the UK.
Praising the work of Open Doors, the Archbishop said: ‘I am grateful to Open Doors who for over half a century have been doing this kind of work and have had a great influence in my own life since the early Eighties. I know this organisation has the utmost integrity and they do their research very carefully and well. I will commit to saying that when I see government figures I will share with them what I have said to you today.’
Support the Save Syria campaign
To find out more or support the Save Syria campaign visit the Open Doors website