Friday, September 02, 2016

ACN News - Syrian patriarch – ‘Stop extremists from entering Europe’

By John Pontifex

A leading Syrian prelate urged Europe to take tougher action to stop fundamentalists from entering its territory.

Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, the Damascus-based leader of Syriac Orthodox Church, warned of the threat posed by a new generation of radicalized Muslims bent on imposing Sharia law as widely as possible.

While many Muslim refugees entering Europe are peace-loving moderates, he added, Western governments “must be better prepared” to ferret out jihadists.

In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the international Catholic charity, the Patriarch called for a strict screening process of migrants and refugees seeking to enter Europe.

“I do not know how this should happen but it is necessary and should be done without infringing the rights of those who are peace-loving and law-abiding,” he said.

He also called on Western governments to insist permission be granted for the construction of churches in Muslim nations, even as new mosques are built in Europe.

Patriarch Aphrem warned that Christianity is at risk of disappearing from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. He cited the example of Turkey, whose Christian population a century ago stood at more than 3.5 million but has dwindled to only 150,000 today.

He said that 80 percent of Christians in Iraq had left the country since the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein in 2003; and that 50 percent of Syria’s Christians are either internally displaced or are living as refugees abroad.

ACN is providing food, shelter, medicine and other essential assistance to Christians, other minorities as well as Muslims throughout the region.

The Patriarch said: “The work of ACN is crucial and makes a big difference. Thousands upon thousands of Christians depend on the help they are receiving from ACN and other organizations.”

With picture of Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II (© ACN)

Editor’s Notes:

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.

No comments: