Keith Davies Executive Director of Rescue Christians
Two weeks ago I traveled with great hope to Budapest, I had been invited by the Hungarian government. I was hopeful that the government of Hungary based on its recent statements of support for the persecuted; who refused to be bullied by the EU and because of its past history from the threat of the Islamic empire would be a beacon of light to the persecuted church, alas I was so very wrong. A darkness not seen since the 1930s and 40s has now covered Europe. The Christians of the Middle East, Far East and Africa are doomed to the same fate as the Jews unless we can find countries who are righteous. Europe has turned its back on its Christian brethren who are in dire need of rescue.
On the evening of my arrival at the informal dinner gathering, prior to the actual conference there was circulated by the Hungarian government a proposed declaration which was obviously concocted in consultation with the leaders of the Catholic and Orthodox churches whose agenda is not to save Christian lives but to preserve the Christian presence in Iraq and Syria at all costs, without any reality to the situation. The leaders in the Vatican and the centers of Orthodoxy wish to ignore the plight of its own people in favor of money and politics. This defies logic and the suffering of their people. The conference focused primarily on how to preserve the Christians in Iraq and Syria and only two speakers a member of the Hungarian Parliament Dr. Imre and I spoke with the reality of what is happening to the Christians in Muslim majority countries.
We submitted a petition to the government requesting emergency assistance to 25 Pakistani Christian families in Bangkok needing a safe haven. It is two weeks and we have received no response to our petition. The Hungarian government has been pressured by the EU to take Muslim refugees and they have refused but have indicated they are willing to help the Christians instead. This is a bare face lie! The Hungarian government is playing political games to avoid helping anyone. They have no interest in helping Christians, they as per the usual politicians, they talk a good game but there is no real action as to what is actually needed to alleviate the suffering of the persecuted. Below is the official declaration from the Hungarian government and see for your self the non-sense that they are promoting. You will then see my response to their proposal with my own proposal, which I requested they add to their declaration which they refused.
Participants of the Budapest conference entitled ’Reinforced Cooperation – New Ways of Working Together to help persecuted and discriminated Christian communities’ make a common declaration on the following and agree on the below actions to be taken. This common declaration is made with special concern to the situation of Christians in the Middle-East. Ever increasing evidence points to the fact that among the gravest and most deep- seated problems of the 21st century so far are the abuse of religion and the practice of restricting and denying religious freedom. Regrettably, in our times, there is a rise of intolerance against religious minorities. Pew Forum statistics show that almost ¾ of the world’s population live in areas with high or very high restrictions on religion or hostilities against religious communities. Christian communities are not the only ones to suffer, but are often a primary target of such hostilities. Over the last couple of years, more than half of Christians indigenous to Syria and Iraq have been forced to leave their homes and seek temporary refuge in neighbouring countries or other parts of the world as a result of this persecution. –
The participants of the conference agree that the persecuted Christian communities need to be primarily helped in their indigenous land. The return of Christian communities to the recently liberated towns must be facilitated through international guarantees of security and protection and the initiation of the rebuilding process. The participants of the conference are committed to – through their work and connections – –
facilitate peace amongst Christians and other religious and ethnic communities in the Middle-East, as a matter of urgency. Christian communities enduring multiple threats can only return to their towns in the atmosphere of trust and reconciliation and prospects of secure and peaceful living in the area; –
support the execution of international political guarantees. Further, the international community must ensure meaningful representation of all local communities at every level of local policing and governance; –
advocate and speak up on behalf of the prosecuted and discriminated communities, especially Christian minorities. We add our voice to that of many Europeans who are becoming sensitised to the challenges that are often faced by religious minorities and the need to help those in need
advocate for the recognition of the atrocities as genocide and crimes against humanity and war crimes for what they are. This includes the recognition of the atrocities committed by the so called Islamic State (Daesh) against Christian minorities in the Middle-East as genocide. Common steps need to be taken to urge the international community to condemn the gross acts of violence committed in Syria and Iraq and to ensure justice for the perpetrators and complicitous actors at the International Criminal Court through local criminal procedures; –
work to engage education, media and the new tools of communication to raise awareness of the persecution and discrimination of Christians and the associated danger to international peace and security; –
strengthen the inter-organisational cooperation in the area of investigating and reporting persecution of Christian communities and other atrocities committed on grounds of religion; –
work towards a sustainable solution for the persecuted Christian communities to ensure that they could peacefully live in their indigenous land. The right to return of those who were forcibly displaced must be preserved and protected; – emphasize that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. Nothing can justify the threatening of the life of the other and the deployment of violent means against communities of different religions. –
Furthermore, they are committed to facilitate a wider alliance and cooperation of experts, researchers, politicians, governmental and ecclesiastical actors that have the expertise and knowledge of the situation of Christians in the East and the West. Budapest, January 27th, 2017. The Undersigners: (requested participants to sign but our organization will refuse to sign this proposal because it does not help any of the people who are suffering)
Below was my response prior to receiving the above finalized declaration
From Keith Davies the Executive Director of Rescue Christians
I greatly appreciate the government interviewing and getting the feedback of the churches in question to come up with a policy for the persecuted of the Middle East, however I would like to point some issues of which you may not be aware concerning Christian refugees who currently are not represented in your proposed policies.
It is very understandable that priests and bishops from the Levant wish to continue the Christian culture and heritage of the area. The same argument could have been made for the Jews of Europe after the Second World War, but most Jews that survived decided to settle in Israel or the United States. The nightmare of their experience was too much to wish to return to their previous life.
Our organization deals on a day-to- day basis with the actual Christian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Thailand and other Eastern countries. Many have tried to register with the UNHCR but are discriminated against because the administration of the UN, who run the UNHCR where the Christians are applying for asylum, are Muslim and they do not deal fairly with the Christian cases. This is why in the United States only nine Syrian Christian refugees were admitted out of 10,000 when the figure should be at least 1,000 based on the population split of Syria.
So not only have these people had to flee because of persecution in their home country, but they also now face a new persecution with discrimination by the UN, the very organization that is meant to help them. In Bangkok, we have documented evidence of this and in Turkey we know Muslim refugees get their cases dealt with relatively quickly and the Christians get ignored, which is evidence on its own.
I would like to point out that around 50% of the 500,000 Christians in Iraq fled that country prior to ISIS even coming to power and did so during the American occupation after the end of the Second Gulf War. The remainder of the Christians, about 250,000 of them, were the ones sticking it out but were decimated when ISIS went on their conquering rampage. Their livelihoods were destroyed, so even if you help build a church and some housing how do they make a living? Further the security situation for them is untenable at this time and well into the future.
There are less than 80,000 Christians left in Iraq. Most are being kept as quasi- prisoners in refugee camps in the Kurdish sector, being manipulated by the church so they can “continue the culture of Christianity in Iraq.” We know this as a fact, as we had our people on the ground trying to help. While I do not despise this mentality, it is but a pipe dream and it is not a reality based on the competing political forces of the different Muslim factions in Iraq and Syria. If you ask the vast majority of Christian refugees stuck in the camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan few, if any, have any desire to return to their home countries. These are the people we listen to and represent. It is very sad that the church is not trying to help these people. The church leaders have an agenda of renewing the Christian life in Iraq; our agenda is based on the reality of the situation, period. We are not against the idea of renewal; we just understand that is not based on the reality on the ground.
Our sister organization covers the terror and political situation in the Middle East. Based on our vast experience and knowledge we do not believe there is a long-term future for Christians to live in any Muslim-majority country. The Islamists in the region have basically taken over or continue to grow their political influence. Your country’s history concerning the Ottoman Empire makes you aware of the challenges of Christians under an extreme Islamist regime.
The goal of Turkey today, which is well documented, is to reinstitute the Caliph and they are succeeding in their goals. Within the next decade or less, Islamist Turkey under Erdogan will be the dominant political force in the region and will unite the whole Muslim world with the Christians in their crosshairs. The Armenian genocide will look like a minor atrocity compared to what is coming.
At this stage, we implore the Hungarian government to recognize the real problem, which is the planned massacre of all Christians by the Islamists, who now are on the verge of taking over the political power over the whole region. The Christian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon should be allowed to go to Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States. Each country should agree to take a certain quota or an agreement be set up among the different countries to take some, even if this is done secretly to avoid the politically correct crowd. The overall number of Christian refugees in these camps is only a few hundred thousand people, which is not a lot, if the load is spread amongst many countries. Hungary can lead by taking some families who are stuck in UN refugee camps and then use their example to nudge others on a private basis and later publicly.
Our organization is setting up advocates and lobbyists in the USA for such a policy as we are based in the USA. President Donald Trump has already made positive statements regarding helping the Christians.
I look forward to working with you and advising on this issue going forward.
Executive Director of Rescue Christians