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Thread: Christianity grows in Syrian town once besieged by Islamic State

  1. #1
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Christianity grows in Syrian town once besieged by Islamic State

    Christianity grows in Syrian town once besieged by Islamic State


    KOBANI, Syria (Reuters) - A community of Syrians who converted to Christianity from Islam is growing in Kobani, a town besieged by Islamic State for months, and where the tide turned against the militants four years ago.

    The converts say the experience of war and the onslaught of a group claiming to fight for Islam pushed them towards their new faith. After a number of families converted, the Syrian-Turkish border town’s first evangelical church opened last year.

    Islamic State militants were beaten back by U.S. air strikes and Kurdish fighters at Kobani in early 2015, in a reversal of fortune after taking over swaths of Iraq and Syria. After years of fighting, U.S.-backed forces fully ended the group’s control over populated territory last month.

    Though Islamic State’s ultra radical interpretation of Sunni Islam has been repudiated by the Islamic mainstream, the legacy of its violence has affected perceptions of faith.

    Many in the mostly Kurdish areas of northern Syria, whose urban centers are often secular, say agnosticism has strengthened and in the case of Kobani, Christianity.

    Christianity is one of the region’s minority faiths that was persecuted by Islamic State.

    Critics view the new converts with suspicion, accusing them of seeking personal gain such as financial help from Christian organizations working in the region, jobs and enhanced prospects of emigration to European countries.

    The newly-converted Christians of Kobani deny those accusations. They say their conversion was a matter of faith.

    “After the war with Islamic State people were looking for the right path, and distancing themselves from Islam,” said Omar Firas, the founder of Kobani’s evangelical church. “People were scared and felt lost.”

    Firas works for a Christian aid group at a nearby camp for displaced people that helped set up the church.

    He said around 20 families, or around 80 to 100 people, in Kobani now worship there. They have not changed their names.

    “We meet on Tuesdays and hold a service on Fridays. It is open to anyone who wants to join,” he said.

    The church’s current pastor, Zani Bakr, 34, arrived last year from Afrin, a town in northern Syria. He converted in 2007.....
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  2. #2
    tWebber TheWall's Avatar
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    Fascinating.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    nice.

  4. #4
    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    How great is THAT!
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

    "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

  5. Amen Cow Poke amen'd this post.
  6. #5
    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    It's a curious historical fact that Christianity seems to thrive under persecution.
    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
    Than a fool in the eyes of God


    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

  7. #6
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
    It's a curious historical fact that Christianity seems to thrive under persecution.
    And if we were smart, we'd recognize that and stay focused so the persecution doesn't have to come.
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  8. Amen tabibito amen'd this post.

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