Only Way to Defeat ISIS Is With Help From Non-Radical Muslims in Middle East, Says Head of Aid to the Church in Need
By Vincent Funaro , Christian Post Reporter
Smoke rises in the Syrian town of Kobani as it is seen from the Turkish border town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, June 25, 2015. Islamic State fighters launched simultaneous attacks against the Syrian government and Kurdish militia overnight, moving back onto the offensive after losing ground in recent days to Kurdish-led forces near the capital of their "caliphate." After recent losses to the Kurdish forces backed by U.S.-led air strikes, Islamic State sought to retake the initiative with attacks on the Kurdish-held town of Kobani at the Turkish border and government-held areas of Hasaka city in the northeast.
A Christian author who heads an organization dedicated to helping the persecuted Church around the world believes that the only way for the Islamic State terror group to be defeated is if non-radical Muslims in the Middle East cooperated with western forces in combat.
Author George J. Marlin is the chair of the Aid to the Church in Need and has released his latest book, Christian Persecutions in the Middle East, where he discusses in great detail the rich Christian history in the region, the rise of Islam, the persecution of believers, as well as solutions to the problems that plague Christians and non-radical Muslims brought on by groups such as IS, al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood as a whole.
Marlin also details the history of Islam in the Middle East and Gulf States and Africa, such as Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and South Sudan, and how its infiltration of government has reduced Christians to being second class citizens in most of these countries.
Palestinians take part in a protest calling for the release of what they say are jailed Salafist relatives from Hamas prisons, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip April 6, 2013. The flag reads, "There is no God but Allah, Mohammed is the messenger of Allah."
The following is an edited transcript of The Christian Post's interview with Marlin, in which he discusses the plight of Christians who are being persecuted and what he believes would be the best method of ridding the region of radical groups.
CP: In your book you speak about Christians being treated as second class citizens in Muslim countries such as Iraq, Syria and Iran. One of the few that actually recognizes them as equals is Lebanon. What is the situation like there today?
Marlin: Lebanon by the nature of it was considered a Christian country. When it was established, it had to have a Maronite Christian president. [But today], even in Lebanon, we're seeing a large influx of Syrian refugees. In Syria and Lebanon, the government sponsored refugee camps are 100 percent Muslim. Christians are afraid to go there. Christian refugees are going to Christian neighborhoods and parishes and are being taken care of.
So in Lebanon, which was fundamentally established as a Christian country, even there, you have Hezbollah which has had veto power over the government since 2008. And has destroyed many of the Christian sites and institutions. Good Friday was canceled as a national holiday in 2007.
Lebanese Christians are now fearing creation of a secular state as well. That was the best place [for Christians in the Middle East], and even that's deteriorating.