Christian human rights group urges Obama to support religious freedom in Syria

( In an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) CEO Dr. John Eibner, who visited Syria last week, urged the president to support religious freedom in the civil war-battered country.

In his letter, Eibner asked Obama to “present guarantees of the rights of Syria’s religious minorities and religious freedom and parity for all Syrians as central tenants of his Syria policy.”

Eibner, who visited the war-torn city of Homs, warned Obama that failure to secure religious freedom will “substantially increase the risk of genocidal consequences for the religious minorities.”

During his visit, Eibner spoke with several displaced Syrians who are concerned with the growing presence of Al-Qaeda-linked terror groups, such as Jabhat Al-Nusra, within the Syrian rebel groups.

“They [Islamist rebels] established Sharia courts. These courts passed the death sentence on anyone whom they believed was associated with the government,” said Anwar Salem, a Sunni Muslim from Ein Tarma, a district that was also affected by last month’s chemical weapons attack.

Eibner’s appeal comes amid reports that Al-Qaeda-linked rebels have finally withdrawn from the ancient Syrian Christian town of Maaloula. Christian residents in Maaloula reported that the rebels attacked Christian homes and churches, threatening them with beheadings if they didn’t convert to Islam. 

Posted on September 13, 2013 .