Christians in Middle East call for unity
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
This file photo shows a Christian mass from a Syriac church in the southeastern province of Adıyaman in Turkey. DHA PhotoA group of intellectuals consisting of Syriacs, Chaldeans and Assyrians outside of Syria have issued a declaration calling on Christians to unite, saying that if an Islamist government came to power after the anticipated fall of President Bashar al-Assad it would be a disaster for all Christians in the region.
“We have to look after and protect ourselves in an autonomous region, the need for a federal structure is deeply felt,” Brussels-based Syriac TV channel Suryoyo’s political analyst Adnan Challma, who is leading the group, said.
Syriac, Chaldean and Assyrian intellectuals, who consider Christian communities to be under threat after the latest developments in Syria, published a declaration in Turkish, Syriac, English, German and French. The declaration started being shared with leading world media outlets on the night of July 25.
It is signed by Syriac, Chaldean and Assyrian intellectuals from all over the world, mostly from the U.S., Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey.
In the declaration, the group indicates that it does not support Syria’s Baathist regime, as it deprives the Syriac, Chaldean and Assyrian communities of their legal rights. However, “the opposition to the Baath dictatorship in Syria, which was democratic at the beginning, has acquired an Islamist tendency with foreign support,” the intellectuals said.
The declaration accuses Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia of giving “armed and financial support” to the Islamist movement in Syria.
“A government formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamists, pro-al-Qaeda figures and Salafists, would be a disaster for our people in Syria and all the Christians in the Middle East. Many times massacres have been committed against our people with cries of ‘Allahu akbar’ and ‘Muhammed Salâvat,’ throughout our long and tragic history,” the declaration read.
The declaration leaves the conflicts between Syriacs, Chaldeans and Asyrrians aside and invites them to form a union with all the Christians in Syria and the region against “the impending disasters.” It addresses political parties and organizations to form this union.
“As the oldest Christian community in the Middle East, we have experienced such threatening disasters many times before. Therefore it is impossible for us to support the impending disaster coming with slogans such as ‘Allahu akbar,’ ‘call to jihad,’ or ‘death to unbelievers,’ in İdlib, Homs and Deyrizor,” the declaration read. The declaration also speaks out against attempts to realize “armed invasions and [the creation of] buffer zones.”
Speaking in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News Challma said he expected all Christian intellectuals in the world to support the call for union. A cooperative policy for Christians in Syria must immediately be put into practice, he said, otherwise Christians there may face a great disaster.
“Why don’t Christians found a country in the Middle East? We have to look after and protect ourselves in an autonomous region; the need for a federated structure is deeply felt,” he said.