SYRIA - Many Syrians Embrace Christianity

Arno Froese

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 toward their new faith. After a number of families converted, the Syrian-Turkish border town’s first evangelical church opened last year. 

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. 

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.” 

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. 

“This was painted by IS as a religious conflict, using religious slogans. Because of this a lot of Kurds lost trust in religion generally, not just Islam,” he said. 

Many became atheist or agnostic. “But many others became Christian. Scores here and more in Afrin.” 

-www.reuters.com, 16 April 2019

Arno's commentary

It is well-known that wars and catastrophes lead people to seek God. Thus, it’s not surprising to read that the town of Kobani, which several years ago was under the rulership of the Islamic State (ISIS), see Christianity as the religion where restoration is possible.

It is our constant prayer that these people will not only embrace Christianity but Christ the Savior, the Son of the living God, who poured out His blood on Calvary’s cross, and now proclaims the message through His servants: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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