Terrorized by mounting extremist attacks, more and more Iraqi Christians are fleeing in panic to neighboring Muslim-majority Turkey, among them lone minors sent away by desperate parents.
In Istanbul, a tiny Chaldean Catholic community has embraced the refugees, serving as their first point of shelter before the United Nations or local civic groups extend a helping hand. The number of arrivals, available statistics show, has sharply increased since October 31 when gunmen stormed a Baghdad church, killing 44 worshipers, two priests and seven security guards, in an attack claimed by Al Qaeda’s local affiliate.
“We saw many newcomers after the attack. We saw they had made no preparation and had no savings,” said Gizem Demirci, an activist at the Association for Solidarity with Asylum-Seekers and Migrants.
Christians represent less than 2 per cent of the population in Muslim-majority Iraq.
The Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Istanbul reports that some 150 Christian families, or more than 600 people, arrived in Turkey in December, almost the same as during the whole of 2009.
“What worries us is that Christians in northern Iraq too are now scared,” the archbishop said. “These are people who lived in peace previously.”
Figures by the Turkey office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees tend to confirm the trend: the number of asylum applications by Iraqi Christians has more than doubled in three months – from 183 in October to 428 in December.
Source; Jordan Times
First of all, it must be said that although the Chaldean Catholic Church has a totally un-Scriptural theology, they have given us all a good example of how Christian brethren should treat each other, taking in those who are fleeing persecution and tending to their needs.
Although we have sympathy for those who are fleeing, it is also important to point out that they are at least in part responsible for their own predicament because they long ago ceased to follow the Bible and have been living according to “traditions of men” for centuries.
Part of that tradition, which is very common in the Arab Christian world, setting their Arab nationalism above their identity as Christians, seeing themselves as “Arab’s first and Christians second” and trying to “live in peace” with their Moslem neighbors by refusing to share the Gospel with them and by joining with them in a common conflict against Israel.
For generations, the Arab Christians who belong to the “traditional churches” in Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and among the Palestinians have forgotten Paul’s warning in 2 Corinthians 6:14;
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
The situation of Arab Christians in Iraq and Egypt should be a warning to all Believers that the time has come to put aside our allegiance to earthly kingdoms, even if we are citizens of “Christian nations” like the US or Norway and commit ourselves fully to the Kingdom of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach.
He is coming back soon to establish His throne in Jerusalem, and we must not put our trust in any other source of help, no matter how good our relations are with our non-Believing neighbors.
Written by Aaron