Newsweek magazine examined the atrocities committed against Syrian Christians in its most recent cover story. In the piece, “The New Exodus: Christians Flee ISIS in the Middle East,” writers Janine Di Giovanni and Conor Gaffey looked in-depth into where the mass exodus from the region began, and how Christians are surviving now.
Newsweek reports that 4 million Syrian refugees have been uprooted from their homes and now live in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. An addition 6.5 million have been displaced internally.
A report by the Center for American Progress said, “Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world are disappearing in the very lands where their faith was born and first took root. Christians have migrated from the region in increasing numbers, which is part of a longer-term exodus related to violence, persecution, and lack of economic opportunities stretching back decades.”
The city of Maaloula was taken over by jihadists in 2014.
Resident Adnan Nasrallah told the Arabic newspaper Al Akbar, “I saw people wearing al-Nusra headbands who started shooting at crosses.” One militant “put a pistol to the head of my neighbor and forced him to convert to Islam by obliging him to repeat, 'There is no God but God.’
"Afterwards they joked, 'He's one of ours now.'”
Christians continue to live in danger in the Middle East.
A young refugee who escaped to Beirut said, “Unfortunately, we’re a long way from a solution. This will make Christians feel threatened by death at all times and scared, of course. Not free. Not safe, and sometimes desperate.”
Publication date: March 27, 2015