A pastor in Beirut, Lebanon says a headmaster at a Syrian school may be executed after the school official was arrested by an Islamist group.
According to The Christian Post, Radwan Muhammad teaches English in Afrin in northern Syria. The Kurdish Christian was accused of apostasy and is being held at the Failaq Al-Sham headquarters in Afrin. Failaq Al-Sham is an Islamist group associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
“We are extremely worried about Radwan’s life and wellbeing," Pastor Nihad Hassan, who leads a Kurdish church in Beirut, Lebanon, said. "[T]hey may execute him.”
Failaq Al-Sham had ordered Muhammad to give up his Afrin school so it could be converted to an Islamic educational building, but Muhammad refused.
“I will hand you the building in one case only: if Jesus Christ comes down to earth again,” Muhammad reportedly told them.
Muhammad was arrested on July 30.
“Those Islamist groups and their Turkish masters are walking in the footsteps of IS (Islamic State),” Hassan said. “In fact, many of their fighters are former IS and al Qaeda members.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas is asking for Muhammad’s release.
“We also urge the Turkish authorities to intervene by restraining the various Islamist militia groups functioning under its command, and to immediately bring to an end all forms of violence and human rights abuses in the areas they control," he said.
The Turkish army has controlled Afrin since March 2018.
“Turkish forces have been giving Syrian armed groups free rein to commit serious human rights abuses against civilians in the Syrian city of Afrin,” human rights group Amnesty International said earlier this month after an investigation into life in Afrin under Turkish military occupation.
“Afrin residents are enduring widespread human rights violations, mostly at the hands of Syrian armed groups equipped and armed by Turkey,” Amnesty reported. “Violations include arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and confiscation of property and looting to which Turkey’s armed forces have turned a blind eye. Some of these groups, and Turkish armed forces themselves, have also taken over schools, disrupting the education of thousands of children.”
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.