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Hundreds of Middle East Christians Rescued and Resettled in Australia, Thanks to Christian Aid Group

While many countries have opened their doors to Muslim migrants from the Middle East, the journey has not been as easy for Christians in search of new homes after fleeing from intense persecution from their countries. However, an aid agency that extends help specifically to Christians is working to change the picture.
Migrants line-up at a registration point after crossing the Macedonian-Greek border near Gevgelija, Macedonia, September 7, 2015.

Reuters/Stoyan Nenov

While many countries have opened their doors to Muslim migrants from the Middle East, the journey has not been as easy for Christians in search of new homes after fleeing from intense persecution from their countries. However, an aid agency that extends help specifically to Christians is working to change the picture.

The Barnabas Fund, an international and interdenominational group that seeks to meet the practical and spiritual needs of believers by channeling aid "from Christians through Christians to Christians" has set up a program that helps believers from the Middle East to resettle in Australia.

Ghassan and his family are among those that the organization, through its Operation Safe Havens, has helped to relocate to Australia.

Ghassan said they ran to Lebanon in March 2014 to escape the war in Syria. Through the help of a relative, they were able to find a place to rent. However, they could no longer afford the high cost of living in Lebanon, so they decided to give Australia a try and applied for a humanitarian visa.

Their visas were approved. Ghassan and his family flew to Australia, and Barnabas Fund shouldered their airfare.

"We love our new country and wish that someday we are able to thank those who were the first to support us and taught us the important lesson in the human life that is to give love and do the good to others as per Christ's teachings," Ghassan said. "We pray to the Lord that he protects Barnabas Fund and its supporters."

As of May 2016, Operation Safe Havens has rescued a total of 1,071 Christian refugees worldwide, and 823 of these are now living in Australia.

However, these figures are small compared to the number of Muslims refugees that have been taken in. With Christians in the Middle East being the target of intense persecution and genocide, there is still a long way to go.

In the U.K., the number of Christian refugees accepted were less than 1 percent, particularly from July to September 2016. According to the Barnabas Fund, only 13 of the 1,583 refugees from Syria were Christians. This means only 0.8 percent of the Syrian refugees who entered the U.K. for that period were Christians.

"It is now widely acknowledged that Christians, Yazidis and Shi'a Muslims are facing genocide in Syria - yet these are the very groups that would be massively underrepresented in the UK and US refugees admissions - even if they were not being targeted for genocide," the Barnabas Fund said.

A recent study reported that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. In 2016 alone, 90,000 believers were killed because of their faith, with a third of them dying at the hands of Islamic militants.

The study, released by the Center for Studies on New Religions, also said that at least 600,000 believers worldwide were suppressed from practicing their faith.

Tags : Persecution, Christian persecution, Middle East Christians, genocide of Christians, Christians in Middle East genocide, Barnabas Fund, Christian refugees, Syrian Christians, Syria refugees, Australia accepting refugees, Christians accepted as refugees, Operation Safe Havens, Refugee Crisis, Christians most persecuted religious group, Center for Studies on New Religions