If 2017 is going to be a less violent year for Christians around the world than the past few have been, international governments, leaders and citizens alike will have to turn words in support of the persecuted into action. While words are often a precursor to action, and an important step in building solidarity and raising awareness about a particular situation, they become hollow if not followed up by substitutive action.
Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to meet many beleaguered Christian communities around the world. I have visited with Christians persecuted by Islamic extremism in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Nigeria and Cameroon, and by repressive states in China, Cuba and Turkey. One consistent message I have heard can be summarized by a question I was asked by a Syriac Christian in Northeast Syria. “We hear that many nations in the West want to help us and secure our future in our ancestral homeland,” he said. “But after many months and years of hearing this … nothing in our situation has changed. Will this help ever come?”
A couple of weeks ago, I was in the Netherlands with a small group of human rights advocates, genocide experts and clergy, including the Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Iraq, Archbishop Petrus Mouche, to encourage the country to find substantive ways to help persecuted Christians. (Click to Article)