Middle East Christians Welcome Syrian Muslim Refugees

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By Morgan Lee , Christian Post Reporter
June 20, 2014|11:21 pm

As their countries have opened their doors to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees from its deadly civil war, the Christian community in Jordan and Lebanon have welcomed their beleaguered neighbors with aid, counseling, trauma support and family programs.

A Syrian refugee family with a Lebanon Bible Society aid package. The Bible Society provides aid for around 3,000 Syrian refugee families. (Photo: Lebanon Bible Society)

A Syrian refugee family with a Lebanon Bible Society aid package. The Bible Society provides aid for around 3,000 Syrian refugee families.

Munther Al-Namat who leads the Bible Society of Jordan, a local branch of an international charity that translates, publishes and distributes the Bible globally and provides disaster relief, said that the programs his group has offered have made the Gospel available to Syrian refugees.

"Thousands of refugees have almost daily contact with Christians and they are experiencing the love that has been planted in our hearts by our faith," Al-Namat said in a statement.

In Lebanon, the Lebanon Bible Society is helping 3,000 families who live in both the camps and suburbs of Beirut.

"They are so grateful for the help," said Lebanon Bible Society General Secretary Mike Bassous. "During a recent aid distribution in a camp the refugees started singing to us."

Bassous noted that his work was not always uniformly welcome.

"It's not always easy - in another camp our volunteers were attacked by some religious leaders. The refugees told them to leave the Christians alone because they were helping. They told our team, 'Please come back. You're always welcome here,'" adding, "Please pray as we reach out to show God's love to Syrian refugees who have suffered so much."

A Syrian man and girl carry Lebanon Bible Society aid packages. The Bible Society provides aid for around 3,000 Syrian refugee families. (Photo: Lebanon Bible Society)

A Syrian man and girl carry Lebanon Bible Society aid packages. The Bible Society provides aid for around 3,000 Syrian refugee families.

More than three years into the Syrian civil war, Jordan, a country of 6.3 million people, is home to more than 600,000 refugees. Eighty thousand refugees live in Zaatari alone, making it the fourth largest city in the country. According to United Nations reports, more than 900,000 Syrians have registered in Lebanon or are waiting for their registration process and make up a quarter of the country's population.

JBS serves families who are not in the Zaatari camp and offers monthly aid packages for 500 poor Syrian families.

One of them is Faraj, a former art teacher in Syria who rents a two room home for his family.

"The Lord sent you to me," he said.

Only about four percent of people are believed to be Christians in the overwhelmingly Muslim Jordan. The country is also host to Christian Iraqi refugees who have fled their homeland in high numbers following the American invasion.

Lebanon's Christian population is much more robust than the rest of the Middle East. There, Christians are estimated around 35% percent of the total population of 4.3 million people.

A Syrian woman smiles as she carries a Lebanon Bible Society aid package. Syrian refugee family with Lebanon Bible Society aid package. The Bible Society provides aid for around 3,000 Syrian refugee families. (Photo: Lebanon Bible Society)

A Syrian woman smiles as she carries a Lebanon Bible Society aid package. Syrian refugee family with Lebanon Bible Society aid package. The Bible Society provides aid for around 3,000 Syrian refugee families.

 

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