Christian Persecution in Syria: “Convert to Islam or Die”
The Syrian people have endured six years of civil war, and their daily struggles often involve violence and uncertainty. Their hope that the Arab Spring would bring about greater freedom and dignity has diminished and Christian persecution in Syria remains.
Christians in this nation experience further pressure when their faith is simply not welcome. With the infiltration of the Islamic State, Christians are met with the command, “convert [to Islam] or die.” The goal of this Islamic extremist group is to create a broader Islamic caliphate, and Christianity stands in direct opposition to that.
Old churches are being torched and burned down. Christians are being beheaded, kidnapped and tortured.
Syrian Christians are often torn in regards to the crisis happening around them; should they flee alongside hundreds of thousands of refugees? Or should they stay and risk it all in order to be a light for Jesus in a chaotic region?
Pastor Samuel* stayed and served the church for five years during the war, but reached a breaking point on Christmas Day. He shares, “ISIS fighters threatened me in person. I myself, my house and my church would not be safe if I’d stayed. I had survived being kidnapped, but this was it. I had to leave.” The day after he left, his home and church were attacked and set on fire.
It is said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
Those who believe in Jesus in Syria need our prayers. Christians here face the real possibility that they will be martyred for their faith if they stay. Please join us to pray for them to have strength and discernment in such a dangerous situation.