Allowing refugees in: Australia to give priority to Christian refugees from Syria

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Syrian Christian refugees

Australia to prioritise taking in Christian and Yazidi refugees hailing from Syria instead of Syrian Muslim refugees

According to details, Australia’s new government had decided to take on the previously announced plan to take in only Christian and Yazidi refugees from Syria. Australia announced that it would be housing 12, 000 Syrian refugees amid escalated refugee crisis which Europe is grappling with.

This policy was previously announced by previous Prime Minister Tony Abbott, however, the new Australian Premier Malcolm Turnbull has resorted to stick with this policy. This policy has sparked wide condemnation from the Australian Muslims.

However, the new Australian government confirmed prioritising Christians and Yazidis and told a newspaper stating, “There have been no changes to the current arrangements announced on September 9. Priority for these 12,000 places will be given to refugees who are deemed most vulnerable including women, children and families and those from persecuted minorities.”

Conversely, an Australian Islamic leader Ahmed Kilani criticized this policy and termed it “bigoted fear mongering. You don’t ask a drowning person what your religion is before you save them.”

Also read: Christian and Muslim refugees to be housed separately in Germany

Another Australian Muslim claimed that “The intake should be based on non-discriminatory criteria, not on religious grounds.” He further went to contradict Christians and Yazidis were being persecuted in Syria. “There is no evidence that Christians or Yazidis are being persecuted … The reality is that it is the Syrian people who happen to be Muslim who have been persecuted by the Assad regime,” he claimed.

Presenting an entirely different picture of the ground reality in Syria, Father Samir Haddad, who is a Syrian priest asserted, “Australia should give priority to the minorities because this country allows everyone to live according to their religious beliefs – in Syria, this is now not possible.”

“We Christians are not accepted in Syria,” he continued to complain. He also confirmed the well established fact that Christian refugees are not living in the UN refugee camps because of persecution on religious grounds. “We have zero Christians in the camps. The refugee camps are not a good environment for Christians to feel safe. Usually they go to monasteries and churches,” he stated.

Father Haddad, in company with some Christians from Syria and Lebanon are aiding the Australian government to find, categorize and select displaced Christians to be taken in as refugees in Australia. For this reason, thousands of refugees are being monitored in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey so that Christian refugees might be identified and accommodated within Australia.