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Arab League suspends and sanctions Syria

By November 17, 2011

Syria (MNN) — The Arab League has voted to suspend Syria from its
meetings and to impose sanctions against Damascus over its failure to end a
government crackdown on protesters.

Member states were asked to withdraw their ambassadors. Violence
persists, even with an Arab-brokered peace deal that called for the regime to stop
aggression against protesters.

Meanwhile, protests
fill the streets after Friday prayers, often met by security forces and
brutal crackdowns.

SAT 7 is a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle
East and North Africa. SAT-7 producer
George Makeen says for Christians in the
region, there's a fine line to walk. "The Christians in Syria are left thinking that without this regime, fundamentalists will come, and their
life will be miserable–like what happened in Iraq. Iraq, for them, was an
example that proved these assumptions, same as the Christians in Egypt. This is
why they were hesitant in sharing in the revolution in the beginning."

Makeen says their team responded with live programs, as they
did with Egypt's uprising. "We made two live shows to discuss the
situation in Syria. We had some politicians and some Syrian church leaders, and we
talked about it. We allowed the church leaders there to raise their concerns,
to say how much they are supportive of
the regime, and how they refuse and reject violence."

They tread carefully with the stakes so high. Christians in Syria look at what happened in
Egypt with the oppression of the Muslim Brotherhood, and without Assad to
protect them, they fear for their future in Syria. "We understand this. We feel
with them. We want to support them," notes Makeen. "But at the same time, we feel that if
you showed lots of support to a regime that is committing all of these crimes
against people, and this regime falls in the end, any power that comes in
the future would oppress Christians even more."

The TV shows which the SAT-7 team produced were a public forum for the two sides
to balance one another. Then, "We
followed that with lots of prayers that showed on the SAT-7 crawls every day,
and we reminded viewers to pray for
Syrians, like the live shows coming from Egypt."

Syrian believers have been feeling increasingly isolated. But "when
we were praying for the troubles in Syria and in Egypt," says Makeen, "we found some Iraqi people calling in or
writing prayers, stating:  'We are with you at
your side. We share that God will never forsake you. Keep trusting Him.'"

Makeen says the persecuted church of Iraq was offering comfort. A church body being hunted to extinction reminded
Syrian believers of their purpose in Christ. "When I heard these prayers, I was deeply moved because you are
talking about people who are kidnapped, being killed. They're really suffering.
Yet, because of the hope that they have, they are able to pray for
others."

While they are asking other Christians to pray for peace, their
team is also asking prayer for wisdom in showing Christ to the region. "We need to transform and translate this
love and this hope to words and action that people can see as we share in
making their lives better because of the hope and the faith that we have."

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