(JNS.org) Syrian Archbishop of Aleppo Jean-Clement Jeanbart said that America’s reluctance to give asylum to Middle East Christians is “unjust,” while calling on the West to help provide aid to Christians fleeing persecution from Islamic State and other terrorist groups.
“If you like us, help us stay in Syria and Lebanon and Iraq and continue to be a presence of Jesus Christ in that part of the world,” Jeanbart said in a news conference at a gathering of the Knights of Columbus in Philadelphia, the Associated Press reported.
Bashar Matti Warda, the archbishop of Erbil in Iraq, appealed to Americans to “speak for the Christians in the Middle East.”
“They have been subject to all kinds of violence because they are Christians,” Warda said. “It is your responsibility—it is your duty to speak for them. This is part of being an American.”
Warda said Iraq’s Christian population has declined from 1.3 million to 300,000 during the last decade; 80,000 Christians have fled Aleppo in the last five years, Jeanbart added. Warda said that many Christians who have been able to successfully gain visas in Australia and Canada are frustrated by the U.S. visa system, which they accuse of pro-Muslim bias.
According to the Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System, the U.S. has admitted 727 Christians and 4,205 Muslims from Iraq, as well as 23 Christians and 812 Muslims from Syria, since the beginning of this year.