The Syrian bishop reveals the story of Christians under the Islamic State
The situation for Christians in the Middle East is increasingly complicated. However, no one can begin to fathom the problem unless they experience it first-hand. The bishop in Syria and mayor of Hassaké, Jacques Behnan Hindo, is one example of someone who lived through the horror.
Every day Monsignor Hindo lives through the poverty, hunger and Christian persecution in Syria.
Msgr. Jacques Behnan Hindo, Syrian Catholic Bishop of Hassaké-Nisibi (Syria): “From a psychological point of view we are really tired, tired of this situation that is impossible to avoid, because every day there are people who die, they bring us bodies of martyrs. Every day we have people dying of hunger, especially the poorest.”
The hardest areas for Christians are the Middle East and Africa. These include Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and Somalia.
The latest report from the Aid to the Church in Need, which analyzes the situation of 196 countries from June 2014 to June 2016, concludes that Islamic extremism is the main threat to Christians and other religions.
ISIS is a global threat that Monsignor Hindo has been able to watch very closely and that is exactly why it worries him.
Msgr. Jacques Behnan Hindo, Syrian Catholic Bishop of Hassaké-Nisibi (Syria): “I will never forget the first time we had money to pay the first stipend at the end of the month and a woman came with her son in her arms and knelt to kiss my feet. I asked, ‘What are you doing?’ And said to me: ‘For the first time my son has been able to eat bread and tomatoes.'”
There are about 334 million Christians in the world who are persecuted and discriminated against due to their religion. In fact, the situation seems to resemble that of ancient Rome.
With so much pain and suffering around, this Syrian bishop claims to have had moments in which he did not know what to believe or when his faith was very weak, but he assures that over time his trust in God has become stronger.
Msgr. Jacques Behnan Hindo, Syrian Catholic Bishop of Hassaké-Nisibi (Syria): “To tell you the truth, 30 years ago I had many problems with God and I found the answer in God on the Cross. Now all the problems I had have disappeared and I am much stronger in my faith. I can testify very clearly even before the Muslims, I say things as they are.”
Despite his doubts, Archbishop Hindo has mustered the strength to support Syrian Catholics who come to him because they suffer from persecution. He guides them through the faith and offers them jobs with their city hall, so they can retain some sense of normality in one of the most hostile areas in the world.