Wading through misinformation on Syrian bishops

By April 30, 2013

Syria (MNN) — Pressure is increasing for whoever is holding the Syrian bishops to release them.

Last week, two Christian Syrian bishops were kidnapped on their way to Aleppo–Syria's largest city–after a humanitarian trip to Turkey.

The abducted individuals are Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim, who is also a SAT-7 Board member.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. However, there are a number of news reports speculating about a connection with Chechen fighters. The group is reportedly allied with Nusra Front, which was merged with al Qaeda in Iraq, according to the U.S. State Department.

However, a SAT-7 Syrian co-worker was quick to note that misinformation about the kidnappers has been fast and furious since the bishops disappeared. He added that the Chechen connection was made because the bishops were traveling through an area where Chechen fighters were rumored to be.

At this point, SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, is taking their cues on this developing story directly from the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo.

The SAT-7 programming team is gearing the program called "Kermalak," (which means "Just For You, Syria") toward the issue, allowing believers to call in, ask questions, share concerns, and pray.

Christians account for around 5% of Syria's population. They have become increasingly vulnerable to attack and abductions in the lawlessness that has engulfed much of the country since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted two years ago.

Aside from prayer, there's an online petition to the White House, created last week. So far, it has nearly 3000 signatures. Click here to see the petition.


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