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Targeted for elimination, Middle East Christians need rescue by the West, priest says
"The people most in danger are the Christians."
By John Pontifex
NEW YORK--Christians in the Middle East are suffering the most but Western governments are ignoring their plight, according to a prominent priest working with Syrian and Iraqi Christians in Jordan.
In an interview with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Father Khalil Jaar, who works with an organization called the Messengers of Peace Association, also warned that extremist Islamists are infiltrating groups seeking asylum in Europe.
Father Jaar said Christians are being “eliminated” by ISIS, the terror organization that, he said, are focused on Christians as their main target.
The priest, who is providing shelter and schooling for thousands of Christian refugees flooding into Jordan’s capital of Amman, said that for this reason he was critical of Western countries, such as the UK, for proposing the resettlement in the West of refugees from the main camps that exclusively house Muslims. He charged that Christians and other minorities are not given an equal chance of seeking asylum in Europe and the US; he also argued the West should do more to enable Christian communities to stay put in their homelands.
Father Jaar said that some refugees entering Europe are ISIS sympathisers, citing evidence gathered from his many interviews with asylum seekers as well as reports he received from Syria and Iraq.
He spoke in terms of “a direct link” between the influx of Middle East refugees over the past few months and the Paris terrorist attacks Nov. 13, 2015.The priest also said that most of the refugees were not asylum seekers but economic migrants in search of a better life.
He said: “The West has totally failed to recognize what is going on in the Middle East.
“Most of the refugees flooding into Europe are people looking for a better life. If they were genuine asylum seekers, they would have accepted to stay in the first available country offering them sanctuary. The real refugees are left far behind.
“Why is the West not doing more for Christians and other minorities? They are the ones who are suffering the most. If the Christians stay in Syria and Iraq, they risk being eliminated by Islamic extremists and if they seek sanctuary abroad in the main refugee camps, they suffer abuse from those already there.”
He said Islamist groups are putting extreme pressure on Christians in Syria and Iraq to convert to Islam, pay the Jizya tax or risk being killed. He said such threats were being made by a number of marauding Islamist forces, including the al-Nusra Front, Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham in addition to ISIS. He said: “Whenever [the Islamist groups] seize any territory, one of their first aims is to eliminate the Christian presence. The people most in danger are the Christians.”
Father Jaar with Christian refugee children; ACN photo