Eight Churches Shut Down in Syria

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

By George Whitten, Jerusalem Bureau Chief

JERUSALEM/DAMASCUS (Worthy News)-- At least eight house churches in northern Syria have been closed down by the government as part of a crackdown on evangelical Christians in country, a Washington-based rights group said Tuesday, September 28.

International Christian Concern (ICC) said Syria's government ordered their closure as authorities deemed them inappropriate. Many congregations in Syria can not afford to build a church and therefore hold worship services at homes of individual believers or purchase apartments to turn them into places of worship.

However in recent months Syria's government has enforced legislation stating that congregations must only gather in buildings that resemble a church.

Syrian Christians say the government's 'legal' excuse for closing churches is merely a cover-up for a wider government crackdown on evangelical Christian activity in Syria.


"Christians who are active in their faith know that they are watched very closely, and the government is waiting for an excuse to crack down on them", ICC quoted an unidentified Syrian Christian as saying.

"The government is targeting all religious activities which are considered 'extreme' -- from Muslim extremists all the way to Christians … It is generally believed that the government is getting reports from Orthodox and certain denominations as well as secret police and various Islamic congregations," added the Christian, who apparently spoke anonymous due to security concerns.

Last week, Christian novelist Joel Rosenberg posted a letter from an Arab believer saying, "Our brethren and churches in Syria need urgent prayers. The government closed about eight evangelical churches in the last two weeks. All these churches are in North Syria, mainly in Lattakia, Tartous, Homs, and wadi Al-Nasara."

Rosenberg warned "that some of the churches in Damascus and Aleppo know that their turn will come soon. They are closing some of the Baptist and Alliance churches. It is apparently by the approval of the High Counsel representative in Syria."


ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, Aidan Clay, told Worthy News that the latest developments underscore a new era for evangelical Christians in Syria. "Christians in Syria, unlike some of their neighbors, have enjoyed relative freedom to practice their faith," he said.

"Yet, religious freedom in Syria is a delicate ideal, and Syrian evangelicals have walked a tightrope not to offend the government and lose their precious liberty to worship."

Clay expressed concern that "Prejudices and false reports" targeting the Syrian evangelical community "by both Orthodox Christians and certain Muslim groups, if continued, will destroy that fragile balance of religious freedom so cherished by Syrian evangelicals."

The ICC said is has urged the Syrian government "to preserve Syria's religiously tolerant society and protecting its religious minorities."

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5 thoughts on “Eight Churches Shut Down in Syria

  1. When Muslims here in the U.S. constantly complain about how poorly they think they are treated, we need to counter back with stories such as this (and there are many) that prove that it is the Muslim world that is truly intolerant to other religions.

  2. We are surely in the last days as the Bible states, "Evil men shall get worse and worse." The Muslims here in America have it made. America is bending over backward to accommodate the Muslims in this country in trying to be politically correct. We are not allowed to have Bibles read in our school's classrooms, yet the Qur'an is expected to be read in the near future to our students, or so it has been reported. It sickens me to think sooner or later our country will be a Muslim nation, as that is the goal of not only the radicals, but the moderates as well. We will suffer great persecution once the Shariah law has been established and enforced.
    We as Christians and also non Christians had better think hard and long about allowing the mosque to be built near ground zero in New York. I have been well informed what is coming our way.

  3. Hi,
    I'm from Syria and i read about this from a syrian news website. First of all, Syria is a secular country. In Syria, all kind of private places for worship is forbidden, this also apply for Muslims who make 80% of population. Although missionary is also forbidden for ALL Religion, Syria is being tolerant for long time with evangelical christians (mostly European) coming to Syria for missionary. If you aren't ashame or afraid of what you're doing, then why not go to church or mosque where religion should be practiced??

    • Dear Mohammed
      Iam a Christian from Pakistan living in UK.How are you and how are your friends and relatives
      in Syria? It is immensely painful to see the news of what is happening there;and we pray for the safety and peace for all.
      The Almighty God's Love is for all and has no barriers or frontiers.With respect and love we are 
      honouring Him who has created us as a family.
      Now may He bless you all and protect with His Mighty Hand

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