By Madeleine Davies
A SYRIAN Church of England priest, the Revd Nadim Nassar, who is also the director of the Awareness Foundation, has said that he was “furious” with the global church for its failure to speak out against the atrocities taking place in Syria.
“The escalation of atrocities has been incredible, and the silence of the world is stunning,” Mr Nassar, said. “For me, as a priest, there is a Christian deafening silence. . . It’s appalling, from all Christian leaders. There is no challenge for politicians; they are not accountable to any human conscience or understanding of the sanctity of life. I am furious with the Church.”
He was tired of being told by Christian leaders that Syria was “complicated”, he said. “Yes it is complicated. . . The Trinity is complicated, and we still preach about it. . . I can’t hear this word any longer, especially from the religious leaders.” He fears that it translates into “I don’t want to do anything about it.”
Weapons and money were still flowing to militant groups in Syria, he said . “So there is still no international will to save Syria and to save Aleppo. The people are absolutely devastated.”
Nassar believes that peace talks must continue, regardless of the fighting, and that the regime and the opposition should end their struggle for power, and “combine their efforts to form a kind of government and a committee to reconstruct the constitution”. Elections were not currently viable in Syria, he said, but people were “longing to see a vision that the opposition and the regime have for the country. How does the future look? In what direction are we heading?”
He went on: “There is no peace in Syria until we find a system that respects the diversity of the society . . . Syria must move to a democratic system that emerges from Syria, not imposed on Syria. Because we tried that in Iraq and it did not work. The system should look like the society in Syria.”
Reconstruction would follow the healing of communities: “We cannot rebuild the stones before rebuilding the people. The minute that the weapons stop, we need to pay attention to rebuild the people to rebuild the trust and communities that are totally broken and shattered.”
The Awareness Foundation is already laying groundwork by working with young people in Syria, training them to be ambassadors for peace.