Syrian Refugees Receive Support from U.S. and Egyptian Christian Billionaire

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Syrian Refugees Receive Support from U.S. and Egyptian Christian Billionaire

A Christian billionaire said he wants to buy an island from Turkey or Greece to give homes to the thousands of refugees who have fled the Middle East.

Coptic Christian billionaire Naguib Sawiris said he will name the island after the 3-year-old Syrian boy who was photographed lying face-down on a beach dead after he and his family tried to flee the violence.

The boy’s name was Aylan Kurdi, according to The Christian Post.

"I actually must admit, it's the picture of Aylan that woke me up," Sawiris told CNN.

"It was a very touching picture. In addition to that, the way these pictures were coming out of Hungary, the way these refugees were being treated by the authorities there, and being, you know, beaten and put into the trains and buses, I mean it was just too much."

Kurdi and 11 other refugees drowned after their overcrowded dingy sank.

According to reports, more than 4 million Syrians have fled the country. Sawiris said he hopes the island can help.

"The challenge of this idea is — whether it's an island in Greece or in Italy — it falls under the jurisdiction of Italy or Greece. So, the first point is, I would like to have the consent of the prime minister of Italy or Greece to house and host these refugees in this island. Finding an island and buying the island is the second point. But I think the challenge here is really to get, because you can't just take people and put them on an island that you bought that falls under jurisdiction," Sawiri said.

"They don't have visas. We need a passport control agency. We need people to check them out. You need their data. You need customs. So the real challenge of the idea is that to have the authorities accept the fact that you will host immigrants there. And specifically Greece has a lot of islands that are for sale and they should offer me an island for sale, but mainly accept that we host these immigrants there."

Christianity Today reported this week that some 10,000 Syrian refugees will head to the United States over the next year.

Church leaders have asked that the U.S. help resettle the refugees.

“Whether it’s hosting refugees in our own country, or supporting churches serving them in other countries, the American church has chosen to act,” said Stephen Bauman, president of World Relief.

So far, the U.S. has only resettled about 1,600 Syrians.

There are 18,000 Syrian refugees who could potentially become one of the 10,000 to gain entry into America. Security checks mean it will take 18 to 24 months for a refugee to gain clearance.

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Publication date: September 15, 2015

Syrian Refugees Receive Support from U.S. and Egyptian Christian Billionaire