By Joseph Manago
Throughout the year 2015 close to one million Syrians have migrated from the horrors of an internecine war in Syria into the continent of Europe. Germany has maintained open borders to accommodate these suffering men, women and children and give them a new home.
Although most of these migrants are Muslims, to date only one Syrian passport was found near the body of a suspected Islamic jihadist in the recent terror attacks in Paris. Some European nations have been closing their borders even before this recent terrorism, and now many states in the United States are opposing Syrian immigrants. This is un-American, inhumane and un-Christian to discriminate against people because of their Syrian national origin, Arab ethnicity and Islamic religion.
The perpetrators of this Parisian terrorism included an Algerian Muslim jihadist who was French-born, not 999,999 Syrian Muslim (and Christian) migrants, who fled the Islamic State and their fundamentalist distortions of al-Quran.
For Christians, the scenario is reminiscent of the story of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel of Luke, in which a Jewish scholar of the law questioned Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” So, Jesus told the parable of the ritually impure Samaritan who was the true neighbor, treating the mugging victim with mercy. And, “You shall love… your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10: 27).
So, despite the fact that some people are not Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. These Syrian refugees are our neighbors. And, further, “When the Samaritans came to him… many more began to believe in him because of his word . . . for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world” (John 4: 40-42). Today is the time to comfort our suffering neighbors, especially the totally innocent children.
The perpetrators of the heinous murders in Paris must indeed be brought to justice, but the majority of Syrians must not be punished for these crimes. And the Quran itself says, “Glory be to him who has dominion over all things. To him you shall all return” (al-Quran 36). They will know we are Christians by our love.
Joseph N. Manago