“H” was born in Damascus, and legally immigrated to the United States from Syria more than 20 years ago, long before the current war began. She became a U.S. citizen and earned a doctor’s degree from an American university. She is completely fluent in both English and Arabic. She recently returned from a trip back to Syria, where she has many family members and friends who keep her apprised of the situation there. She is also one of the kindest and most devoted Christians I have ever met. I am keeping H’s name confidential, as I do not wish this interview to in any way jeopardize her family’s safety in Syria, or the status of her professional work in the U.S.
An Iraqi nun who wants to visit her sick sister in the UK has been denied a visa by the Home Office.
Sister Ban Madleen was driven out of Qaraqosh, the biggest Christian town in the Nineveh plains, by ISIS, who took over her Dominican convent. She settled as a refugee in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdestand, where she set up kindergartens. The refugees are returning to their home towns now that ISIS have been driven out.
Sister Ban is not the first religious to have problems visiting Britain, according to Fr Benedict Kiely, founder of Nasarean.org, which helps the persecuted Christians of the Middle East. Another Dominican nun with a PhD in Biblical Theology from Oxford has been refused a visa twice……
……. In December 2016 three archbishops from Iraq and Syria were refused entry into the UK despite being invited by the country’s Syriac Orthodox Church for the consecration of the UK’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, attended by Prince Charles.
“Christianity is Europe’s last hope….. The danger we face comes from the West, from politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris.”
– Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán
Pole and Hungarian — two brothers,
good for saber and for glass.
Both courageous, both lively,
May God bless them.
Sister Yola Girges, born in Damascus in a family originally from Ghassanieh (province of Idlib), a Christian village in the north where the Franciscan Father Francois Mourad was killed in 2013 and where the terrorists of Al Nusra are still based, is one of the missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary working in the house of the Custody of the Holy Land at the Memorial of the Conversions of St. Paul, in the Syrian capital. We are in the neighborhoods of Tabbaleh, Bab Touma and Dawaleh, where Christians are concentrated. And like many other Christians and religious in Syria, Sister Yola is also outraged by the way the war is told in Europe.
“Today, in the Jaramana district, the funerals are being held for twelve civilians killed by the missiles fired by the rebels of Ghouta. Two weeks ago a mortar shell exploded in the garden of our house. A few days ago another rocket hit a building on the other side of the street and all our windows exploded. For weeks now, when we leave the house we do not know if we will return. In this period, moreover, the terrorists began to strike just when the lessons ended in schools, to create even more panic. Just in our nursery school, last year we lost four children, killed by a mortar together with their father and in 2012 a girl, killed by a missile on the street together with her mother, who was our catechist. Not to mention the injured or traumatized children Yet nobody talks about it, nobody says anything. Who takes any concern for our dead?”
Now all the attention is focused on Ghouta, and the humanitarian organizations talk about the many civilian deaths…
“We need to tell the whole truth. Ghouta is an area of 1800 square kilometers. It has been occupied by terrorists since the beginning of the war. In these seven years, the rockets they launched have caused more than a thousand civilian deaths in Damascus alone. How long could you endure all this? Furthermore, everyone knows that the militants of Isis and Al Nusra concentrated in Ghouta have brought families with them, which they now use as human shields, either to stop the army attacks or to arouse the world’s compassionate reaction. Nobody wants civilians to die, anywhere. But the tactics are clear. “