Middle East (MNN) — British officials aren’t afraid to call the Brussels attack an act of terror. However, they seem to draw the line at genocide.
British Parliament just denied a bill similar to the one that the U.S. passed, which says Christians and other minorities are targeted by ISIS in a clear demonstration of genocide.
“The government believes that recognition of genocide should be a matter for international courts and that it should be a legal, rather than a political, determination. That remains the position,” stated Lord Keen.
As explained here, part of the hang-up in British Parliament could’ve been the bill’s asylum requirement. Along with asking members to recognize ISIS persecution as genocide, the measure required British officials to consider applications for asylum–if they were made by religious minorities targeted by ISIS.
“We have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve,” said Keen. “What we cannot achieve is a policy whereby 4.8 million or more people are invited to make an application at a local level for a visa to bring them to the U.K.”
When it comes to the global genocide debate, Steve Van Valkenburg of Christian Aid Mission says, “There’s a role for governments and the UN. There’s also a role for Christians.”
How Christians can respond to genocide
Travis Wussow, Director of International Justice and Religious Freedom at the Southern Baptist Convention, claimed in a recent blog that the U.S. genocide recognition carries an “obligation to do something.”
Van Valkenburg agrees, saying, “The whole declaration of genocide is a call for Christians to pray, and to ask, ‘How do we show love for refugees and the displaced people?’
“We can help them in very concrete ways. [We can] begin to help them to live a normal life and to give them hope.”
Since the Syrian civil war began five years ago, Christian Aid Mission has been helping indigenous missionaries in the Middle East meet spiritual and practical needs. They’re currently assisting 16 groups, coming alongside local Christians as they hand out food and clean water, as well as the Living Water of Christ.
So far, the focus has been meeting immediate needs. However, the time for transition might be at hand.
“Showing the love of Christ to those people is to help them gain a normalcy in their lives and not always be waiting on hand-outs, because those hand-outs are going to keep dwindling away,” explains Van Valkenburg. Many of the refugees they’re assisting won’t be relocating any time soon, he adds.
“We as Christians need to [realize] that if they’re going to stay there, we need to do what we can to help them get settled. Christians need to be on the forefront to help people get jobs and find education for their kids.”
The task at-hand is immense, and it’s not something that can be solved overnight. However, the Lord is providing hope along the way. “There are many who are believing in Christ,” shares Van Valkenburg.
“There’s great joy in a lot of their lives because they’re finding hope for the first time.”