“The church is fasting and praying. People on the street are asking God to keep the peace in Syria … If anything happens, Christians will be the first to be attacked, killed and destroyed by Muslims, A religious minority in the Middle East combining Judaism, Christianity and Islam. More and all. Prayers are needed at this time.” – a Syrian Believer
As protestors take to the streets of Syria, some calling for reform within the ruling Baath party and others demanding the ousting of President Bashar al-Assad, concern is growing among Syrian Christians about the consequences of a regime change or legal reforms on the government’s protection of vulnerable religious minorities. Though some see these proposed reforms as positive developments for the Syrian people, other believers recognize the potential for Muslim groups to target defenseless Christians as government control loosens as has happened in Egypt. Rumors are spreading of plans by militant Muslims to attack Christians when the state of emergency which has allowed the ruling Baath party to maintain control since 1963 is lifted by the government. Fear of attacks against believers have prompted many parents to keep their children home from school on Fridays to avoid the possibility that a group coming from the mosque will harass the children on their way home from school.
Christians make up 9% of the Syrian population and have been allowed a degree of religious freedom under the current government. Though the central government and local officials strongly discourage Christians from evangelizing, the nearly 2 million believers in Syria have been allowed to worship openly by the Al-Assad regime. Syrian believers are well aware of how easily this freedom could be snatched away from them. A Syrian believer testified, “The Christians in Syria are scared that if anything happens to the current system, their situation will be like Iraq, if not worse!”
Believers facing a choice between fleeing their homes, businesses and communities or staying to deal with a tense situation that could escalate into violence against Christians at a moment’s notice are fasting and praying for God’s wisdom and direction. Join in praying for our brothers and sisters in Syria, that they would be strengthened in their faith and that God would work in the political situation to secure protection for Syria’s vulnerable Christian minority.
Father, thank you for your continued faithfulness to the believers in Syria. In the face of violent threats and political unrest, strengthen and encourage believers in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Even in the midst of uncertainty and fear, grant Syrian Christians boldness to share the truth of Christ with members of their community. Please move in the hearts of Syrian government officials to continue to protect vulnerable believers. Father, let Your perfect peace cover this troubled nation bringing hope for the citizens of Syria. Amen
Consider fasting in unity with our brothers and sisters in Syria. Please let Open Doors know of this decision by sending a message to [email protected].
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