By Leo Hohmann
As U.S. and European leaders reach out with open arms to tens of thousands of Muslim refugees flooding into Europe, the groans of persecuted Christians in Syria, Iraq and Pakistan are increasingly drowned out.
President Obama announced Thursday that the U.S. will accept an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, on top of the 1,600 that have already arrived.
The Syrian arrivals coming from United Nations refugee camps to date have been 95 percent Muslim.
When it comes to the plight of Christians, most of the voices of concern for “refugees” – whether they come from the EU, the White House, the Congress or in the media – fall silent, says a spokesman for the International Christian Concern.
The ICC posted an alert on its website Thursday that an estimated 30,000 Pakistani Christians have been forced to flee their homeland due to persecution from the Muslim majority in Pakistan. They are living in crude conditions in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Malaysia with little help from the United Nations or various international aid agencies.
Christians in Pakistan are often jailed for their beliefs, their churches are bombed and their pastors killed.
The president of Pakistan Christian Congress has urged the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and other countries to open doors to the persecuted Pakistani Christians.
Nazir Bhatti, who launched the Pakistan Christian Congress in 1985 and was forced to flee Pakistan in 1998 after he challenged the nation’s Islamic blasphemy laws, has written leaders of the E.U., U.K., U.S. and other European countries asking that they receive Pakistani Christian asylum seekers, reported the website Christians in Pakistan.
Bhatti’s plea comes after the announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron that the U.K. will accept 20,000 Syrian refugees, while Germany is welcoming 800,000, Spain is taking 20,000 and France 24,000.
President Obama has previously committed to taking 5,000 to 8,000 Syrians over the next year, but his administration announced today it is considering increasing that number by 10,000.
Refugees or migrants?
Despite all of the attention being given to Syrians as “war refugees,” data from the United Nations refugee agency indicates that the majority may actually be economic migrants rather than true war refugees.
The UNCHR data shows, for instance, that 75 percent of the so-called refugees flooding into Europe this year are men, and that only 51 percent are Syrian.
Bhatti has petitioned the leaders of U.K., Germany, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Hungry, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and other E.U. member states to give refuge to Pakistani Christian asylum seekers by allowing them easy entry into their countries.
“Thousands of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers are not economic immigrants but persecuted Christians who are not rich to pay huge amounts to human traffickers to reach shores of Europe,” the letter reads.
The situation for Christians in Syria and Iraq may be even more desperate. They are hunted by ISIS.
Lord George Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury, in a recent op-ed in the Telegraph, urged Britain to focus on taking Syrian Christians, saying they are the most vulnerable and repeatedly targeted victims of the Syrian civil war.
While Carey said he welcomes Cameron’s announcement to take in more Syrian refugees, the most targeted refugees are being left behind to face their Islamic killers.
“But the frustration for those of us who have been calling for compassion for Syrian victims for many months is that the Christian community is yet again left at the bottom of the heap,” Carey wrote.
Syrian Christians flee U.N. camps
According to the Barnabas Fund, which recently resettled some 50 Syrian Christian families in Poland, “Cameron’s policy inadvertently discriminates against the very Christian communities most victimized by the inhuman butchers of the so-called Islamic State,” Carey writes.
“Christians are not to be found in the U.N. camps, because they have been attacked and targeted by Islamists and driven from them. They are seeking refuge in private homes, church buildings and with neighbors and family.”
This confirms reports that WND has previously published about the dangers Christians face in U.N. refugee camps.
‘Openly glorifying slaughter of Christians’
Carey argues that even though 100 years have past since the Armenian and Assyrian genocide, in which 1.5 million Christians were wiped out by Ottoman Muslims, the same genocide is being carried out today in the form of an ethnic cleansing of Christians in the region.
“Christians have been crucified, beheaded, raped, and subjected to forced conversion. The so-called Islamic State and other radical groups are openly glorifying the slaughter of Christians,” he said.
Lord Carey further urged that Britain should make Syrian Christians a preference, “because they are a particularly vulnerable group. Furthermore, we are a Christian nation with an established Church so Syrian Christians will find no challenge to integration. The churches are already well-prepared and eager to offer support and accommodation to those escaping the conflict.”
Bhatti said Pakistani Christians suffering in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand and other Southeastern Asian countries have been waiting for years as their cases languish with the United Nations.
They go “without any shelter provided by UNHCR, International Rescue Committee and other international NGOs, or any education for their children,” Bhatti said.
“Pakistani Christians are facing genocide in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” he said.
He said the notorious blasphemy law in Pakistan is used against Christians and any non-Muslim. To speak any truth from the Bible about Jesus Christ being the “Son of God,” or having “died on a cross” for mankind’s sins, is considered blasphemy by the Shariah courts. Wearing a cross around one’s neck in public can get you arrested and thrown in jail.
Congressman rebukes Obama plan to take more Syrians
Yet, among the 70,000 refugees taken by the U.S. this year, almost no Christians from Pakistan or Syria are included.
Of the 1,600 brought from Syria since the start of that country’s civil war, 95 percent have been Muslim and less than 4 percent Christian.
The administration, while heavily lobbied to accept more refugees, has also been warned by some in Congress that bringing in thousands of people from ISIS-controlled territory would pose a grave security risk.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee issued the following statement Thursday rebuking the Obama plan to allow a “surge” of Syrian Refugees into the U.S.
“The president wants to surge thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States, in spite of consistent intelligence community and federal law enforcement warnings that we do not have the intelligence needed to vet individuals from the conflict zone. We also know that ISIS wants to use refugee routes as cover to sneak operatives into the West. I implore the president to consult with Congress before taking any drastic action and to level with the American people about the very real security challenges we face. It is heart-wrenching to watch innocent Syrians fleeing the violence in their country, and we can do more to help. But the best way to solve this crisis is at the source. The president needs to develop a real strategy for victory to defeat ISIS and remove Assad from power, which is the root cause of the problem. This is the culmination of a failed foreign policy to deal with the threats and now we have a humanitarian crisis on our hands.”