Answer: Not, it would appear, in the UK. VfJUK was recently contacted by a photo-journalist asking if we could put her in touch with a family of Christian Syrian refugees to be part of a human interest story in one of the national papers in the run-up to Christmas – you know the kind of thing … how they were getting on, their hopes and fears for the new year….
Well, we tried, we really did. We made enquiries at the highest levels, in both government and the Church, but, as far as we could discover … there are currently no Christian refugees from Syria living in the UK.
What we did discover, according to Home Office figures, is that in the last two years the UK has settled 216 Syrian refugees under the Vulnerable Persons Relation scheme, while in the last twelve months the UK has granted asylum to another 14,065 refugees, applying through conventional channels. On top of that we currently have pending another 7,735 applications specifically from Syrian refugees, while David Cameron has promised that we will accept up 20,000 refugees over the next five years, to be taken directly from the refugee camps in Syria and neighbouring Iraq.
Highly commendable, you might say. It is unlikely, however, that any of these refugees will be Christian – because Christians displaced by the conflict are too frightened to take refuge in the camps, where they find themselves attacked and driven out – or worse – by Muslim vigilante groups.
On any reckoning this is cause for concern, but made infinitely worse by the fact Christians are now the most persecuted group on the planet, suffering wholesale intimidation and slaughter at the hands of ISIS and related groups, who are ideologically committed to wiping out all trace of the Church. But what is even more alarming is that the Western world seems indifferent to, and therefore complicit in, this religious genocide.
Almost every day we see calls in the press to help refugees, with truly heart wrenching stories of drowned children washed up on Greek beaches – but why is there no outcry against the deliberate persecution and murder of Christians, who are daily being not just driven from their homes, but ethnically ‘cleansed’? Why is the West not expressing horror at the rape of Christian women – used as a weapon to degrade – and at the forced conversions and countless numbers of crucifixions and beheadings? Why are our governments not moving heaven and earth to help get this group to safety? Why, instead, are we constantly being told that Islam is a religion of peace? And why does all the help seem to be one way?
In the last year it’s conservatively estimated that over 750,000 migrant refugees have crossed into Europe, making the perilous journey across the Med. In reality of course the number is far higher, because we have no way of knowing how many more have crossed the borders undetected. But what we do know is that the number of Christians included in that flow and now seeking asylum is infinitesimal – hardly even quantifiable in fact. By way of illustration, on a humanitarian visit to the Calais migrant camp in September, Barnabas Fund found that of the 4,500 residents, a mere 6 were Christian (https://www.barnabasfund.org/news/magazine-nov-dec-2015-jungle). No, the horrific and unpalatable truth is that even when Christians do embark on the perilous journey to seek a new and better life, where they won’t suffer intimidation, very few survive; because they are attacked by their fellow refugees. And Western governments, including the UK – who full well know the problem – are doing nothing to help and keeping quiet about it.
Instead we welcome into Europe hundreds of thousands Muslim refugees and migrants, whose numbers, even where well intentioned, will radically change the demographic and cultural face of our society. On current predictions, by 2050 Europe will be Muslim, and any notion of the Christian West will be an outmoded anachronism – whose history, on current form where Islam prevails, will be suppressed.
VfJUK continues to search for a Christian refugee family here in the UK, but it’s looking increasingly likely that there will be no heartwarming story of triumph over adversity, of safe refuge, nor of hope for the future any time soon. We ask, is this the sum total of Western compassion? Is this truly justice for the vulnerable alien in our midst?
If you are at all disturbed by this, then please pass this article on to anyone who says they care about the migrant crisis and want to help – and ask them what they’re going to do to defend persecuted Christians? Because if they do nothing, then not only is our much vaunted liberal compassion a sham, but all trace of Christian presence in the Middle East will soon be removed. It’s time for the West to wake up and honestly confront the dangers we face. It’s time to act to defend those who really are vulnerable, and who genuinely have nowhere else to go.