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Syria: Turkish-backed opposition militants kidnap 14 Kurds who converted to Christianity

Persecution of Christians in Syria: reported last Monday on the arrest of Radwan Muhammad, a convert from Islam to Christianity, and his being charged with apostasy. Now Kurdish and Syriac media outlets are reporting that 14 converts to Christianity were kidnapped by the same forces that arrested Radwan Muhammad. In many countries around the world, converts to Christianity are singled out for even worse treatment than is given to those who have been Christian all their lives; the converts are considered to be a threat to the existing order, and a rebuke to the prevailing values of the culture.

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, prays and hopes that these Christians will soon be released safely, and that international organizations will do all that is necessary to procure their release.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Syria, see here.

“Turkish-Backed Islamists Reportedly Kidnap 14 Christians in Syria,” CBN News, August 25, 2020:

JERUSALEM, Israel – Kurdish and Syriac news media are reporting that Turkish-backed Syrian opposition militants have kidnapped 14 Kurds who converted to Christianity from the northern Syrian city of Afrin. 

Pastor Nehad Hasan, who is originally from Afrin but now leads a Kurdish church in Beirut, told the Syriac Press that factions of the Syrian National Army – a coalition of Turkish backed militias, some of them radical Islamists – are responsible. 

“We stopped contacting the kidnapped, based on their request, and fear for their families,” Hasan reported last week. “However, we received promises they will be released soon.”

Hasan told the Kurdish media group Rudaw that before Turkey invaded Afrin, there were around 250 Christian families. Many have fled and it is unclear how many Christians remain there today.

CBN News previously reported that a Turkish-backed rebel group kidnapped Radwan Muhammad, 40, a Christian Syrian teacher near Afrin last month.

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Muhammad was arrested on July 30 for refusing to surrender his school building for Islamic training.

Pastor Hasan fears for his life.

“We are extremely worried about Radwan’s life and well-being. He is being held at Failaq Al-Sham’s headquarters in Afrin and they may execute him. Those Islamist groups and their Turkish masters are walking in the footsteps of IS (Islamic State). In fact, many of their fighters are former IS and al Qaeda members,” he told CSW….

Kidnappings and arrests have been rampant in Afrin, and Afrin’s Human Rights Organization said accusations of apostasy are “another excuse militias use to commit crime in Afrin.”

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