A Christian family who fled Iraq only to suffer again at the hands of Syrian Islamists in a refugee camp in the German town of Freising eventually returned to Iraq when they could take no more. “They yelled at my wife and beat my child,” said the Iraqi father. “They say … ‘We will kill you and drink your blood’.” Cases like this one are being reported from various parts of Germany.
A young Syrian man in the German town of Giessen decided he could not stay when he heard violent threats from Islamists. “They shout Quranic verses,” he said. “These are words that shouts the [Islamic State] before they cut off people’s heads. I cannot stay here. I am a Christian.”
A young Iranian man was called “unclean” and banned from using the kitchen in his asylum home. In the town of Hemer, in western Germany, Algerian refugees attacked a Christian Eritrean man and his pregnant wife with a glass bottle.
Joshua, a Pakistani Christian now living in Germany after he fled violence in Pakistan, said: “[life] in the refugee camp is not really different from that in my home country. 98% of asylum seekers there are Muslims and they threaten me, call me a Kufr, an unbeliever. I’m afraid there, very afraid. Mostly I stay in my room.”
In Berlin, Pastor Gottfried Martens is helping Christians who are fleeing the asylum centres because of the constant threat of attack under which they often find themselves. “Our Christian refugees are experiencing much oppression in the homes. They are abused, ostracised and even physically attacked,” he said. “Devout Muslims teach there the view: Where we are, there is the Sharia, there is our law.”
German authorities in Thuringia state have enforced a policy of separating refugees according to their religious background as soon as they arrive in the state. Other states may soon follow suit.
But if this is the situation in Europe, how much more anti-Christian persecution is happening in the Middle East? A United Nations aid worker in Jordan reported that Islamic State jihadists are active in the Middle East camps, killing and kidnapping young girls and women to be sex slaves.
And still Western governments continue to insist that refugees will be rescued from camps in the Middle East, failing to understand that most Christians are too fearful to live in the camps because of the threat of anti-Christian attacks. Instead, many are taking shelter in schools, churches, and apartments, or with relatives where possible.
Barnabas is urging governments to recognise the particular vulnerability of Christians fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq. To rescue Christians in danger, governments must make committed efforts to look beyond the refugee camps and to find the Christians where they are. Please click here to find out how you can help.