National newspaper the Express has highlighted a report produced by Barnabas Fund for the UK government’s House of Commons Select Committee on International Development – Syria Inquiry explaining why it is that so few Christians live in refugee camps despite the fact that these vulnerable believers are fleeing the Middle East in their hundreds of thousands because of the great dangers they face.
The hard-hitting article by the Express, written by Jon Austin and published on Wednesday (16 December), credits academic research conducted by Barnabas Fund concerning refugee camps in the Middle East and challenges British Prime Minister David Cameron to explain why he took the decision to accept refugees only from the camps after he had been informed that vulnerable Christian refugees do not live in refugee camps.
The report documents Barnabas Fund’s findings that for around the last 15 years Islamists have dominated refugee camps in Muslim-majority contexts – which is why Christians tend to avoid them. The same pattern is seen in refugee camps in the Middle East at present, some of which are dominated by Islamists. There is also evidence to show that Islamic State (IS) militants may be controlling some of these camps.
Christian Syrians and Iraqis fleeing barbaric persecution in parts of the world where Christianity has existed for 2,000 years do not normally live in refugee camps as it is too dangerous for them to be there; they can easily be identified and mistreated by the Muslim refugees. Instead, the Christians seek shelter in schools, churches, apartments and other large buildings, or with relatives where possible.
To rescue Christians in danger, Barnabas is urging governments to make committed efforts to look beyond the refugee camps and to find the Christians where they are. To find out how you can help, please read our article on Safe Havens for Christians fleeing the Middle East.