World Magazine reports:
For the first time since the Lebanese civil war ended in 1990, Lebanese Christians are arming themselves for self-defense, deploying on hills surrounding their communities, and laying in ambush in case Muslim extremists head their way.
“We all know that if they come, they will slit our throats for no reason,” said one villager as he drove through the streets of the border town Qaa, an assault rifle resting next to him.
But there is concern that the rearming effort could raise tensions in Lebanon, which is split over the Syrian conflict. During its own 15-year civil war, the right wing Phalange group fought on behalf of Lebanese Christians.
The number of Christians in the Middle East is rapidly declining as jihadist groups target their communities, and many Christians have fled Syria for Europe. Iraq’s Ninevah region and the provincial capital of Mosul has been emptied of the Christian communities that have lived in the area for centuries.
“We are scared,” Umm Milad, a young Iraqi woman said while waiting to collect aid at a Chaldean church in Beirut. She came to Lebanon with her husband and children after someone painted an ‘N’ on their home in Mosul in July. The terrorists gave them 24 hours to leave. “We don’t want to go back. We want to go anywhere else. Canada or America.”
“We don’t want to attack anyone and we don’t want anyone to attack us,” said Suleiman Semaan, a political activist in Ras Baalbek.
Amir, a 41-year-old Christian, came to Lebanon last year from Syria and is staying with his brother in a Christian area. “I don’t want to give up on Syria, but I want my children to grow up feeling safe. I want them to grow up in a place where they can proudly make the sign of the cross without fear,” he said.
Mission News Network adds:
Lebanese believers have watched as Christians in Syria and Iraq were forced to flee their homes and villages as ISIS takes more territory.
Now, they’re ready to protect themselves from a potential threat by the Islamic State. Rita El Mounayer with SAT-7 says they won’t go easily. “When I was in Lebanon last week, I met with many leaders and many colleagues and many friends at church. They were really ready to pick up arms and fight.”
Concern seems to be mounting because ISIS forces overran a border town last month, killing and kidnapping Lebanese soldiers and policemen. Of course the Lebanese Christians are going to protect and defend, this time with unlikely allies among the Shi’ite Muslims and some Sunni moderates. El Mounayer adds, “Sometimes when you don’t have law and order in a country, you can’t just open your doors to ISIS and say, ‘Welcome. Kill my children and my wife.'”
Beirut doesn’t seem to be concerned with what has been taking place with ISIS as much as another problem.
El Mounayer said she believes the bigger concern are the refugees. She has witnessed Lebanon being overrun with refugees from Syria and Iraq, who are fleeing the ISIS rampage and viewed “hordes of refugee children standing on street corners begging.”
According to El Mounayer, there are 1.2 or 1.3 million refugees in Lebanon.
While she says that these people need more than just words, she feels there is little to do without the aid of other Christians. If you are so inclined to help in this endeavor, SAT-7 has a special donation page where you can help people with more than just words.
One of the most striking comments I came across was from Sahira Hakim, a housewife from Baghdad, currently living in Lebanon and has applied to immigrate to a third country. She said, “We Christians are like roses. If you remove them from a garden, it will not be beautiful anymore.”
She’s right. Christians are to be the light of the world, to show forth the glory of God and proclaim His Gospel. Take a look in our own country where Christianity is being expelled all around us and tell me it isn’t true.
In July, 600 Christians took up arms against Muslim jihadists after a Christian woman was raped. In August, thousands of Assyrian Christians also took up arms against ISIS to end the persecution in their land.
Lebanon is 54% Muslim, 41% Christian and 5% Druze. It’s good to see the Christians standing at the ready to deal with Islamic devils who threaten their loved ones and neighbors. That is what love does. May God bless these Lebanese Christians in their endeavors to preach the gospel, meet the needs of the refuges and defend against those that would seek their harm.