By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Britain’s ex-Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned British media for suggesting that the Christian faith is “a visa advantage” for believers in the Middle East fleeing persecution and violence.
The claim was made by The Times newspaper discussing attacks against Christians in Syria and Iraq by the Turkish military first reported by Worthy News and other sources.
The Times suggested that “many Christians have received preference in applications for visas to the West.”
That preferential treatment “prompted envy and anger among their non-Christian neighbors, who say that Christianity is now more a visa advantage than a faith,” The Times claimed.
Rights activists and other sources told Worthy News that airstrikes in Syria and Iraq have displaced thousands of Christians and forced many to leave their country.
But the suggestion that Christians are receiving better treatment than mainly Muslim refugees is denied by Carey, who supports Barnabas Fund, a Christian aid, and advocacy charity.
The article said Carey, “is right that the exodus of Christians from their Middle Eastern homeland is a tragedy that is gathering pace. I doubt, however, that it was ever true…that Christianity could have been described as a ‘visa advantage’”.
Christian refugees “from Iraq and Syria have struggled to be accepted for resettlement to any Western country, particularly the United Kingdom,” he added in a letter to the editor.
“Barnabas Fund, an aid agency of which I am a patron, obtained government figures in 2017 and 2018. [The data] showed that, out of more than 8,000 Syrian refugees settled in the UK, only 25 were Christian (0.3 percent). Before the ‘Arab Spring’ [of pro-freedom protests], Christians represented about 10 percent of the Syrian population.”
Noting that Afghan Christians are now suffering the same situation, Carey argued that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) “discriminates against minorities to this day.”
In a previous commentary for the Daily Telegraph published last month, Carey called the UNHCR’s program “functionally discriminatory.” He wrote that “those applying for asylum do so through camps which are often no-go areas for religious minorities.”
Since August this year, Turkey escalated a supposedly anti-terrorist military campaign in Syria and Iraq that targeted mainly Christians and other minorities, Worthy News learned.
The Jerusalem Post newspaper quoted an expert saying that it remains unclear “why [Turkey’s] claims to fight ‘terrorism’ often coincide with bombing minorities in Iraq and Syria. And carrying out attacks against Christian, Kurdish, and Yazidi minorities.”
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