Greece (MNN) — The Greek government has charged six Afghan refugees with burning down the Moria camp last week. Two of the suspects are minors. The government has brought a counter-terrorism unit to Lesbos to help with the investigation. Five more local fires have followed the Moria blaze, and the authorities suspect they could be connected.
Liz Steggall Lewis of TeachBeyond says of the refugees, “They’ve just been so angered by the isolation measures imposed due to COVID-19, angry that people are staying in these squalid conditions for years without being moved to the mainland or being given asylum.”
These COVID-19 restrictions impact TeachBeyond’s work in the camps as well. Lewis says, “We’ve only this month been able to reengage in our work. But obviously, because of the crisis now, those educational programs are on hold again.”
TeachBeyond works in 61 countries around the world, transforming the world for Christ through education. They connect students and teachers, often partnering with other organizations and schools. Learn more here.
Jesus, the refugee
Greeks on Lesbos initially welcomed the refugees, but their hospitality has since waned. Anti-refugee sentiments now run high. It’s been a difficult year, but Lewis says this ministry is worth it. “When coming into proximity with these people who really have nothing, (in a sense, it is like visiting people in prison) you come into proximity with Christ the Lord. I feel like Christ is transforming us through taking us closer to the people who are dearly on His heart. And then Christ is doing transformational work in [the refugees]. People are coming to know Christ and building a church there, a church of refugees.”
Lewis says refugees and how they should be treated have become controversial issues in many parts of the world, not just on Lesbos. With millions of people fleeing war and violence all over the world, how should Christians respond? She says, “We worship a brown-skinned Middle Eastern Savior named Jesus who spoke zero English and was an immigrant as a child. How we treat and view immigrants and refugees is how we treat and view Christ Himself.”
The header image shows a view of the Moria camp before the fire. (Cathsign / CC BY-SA https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)