As the international debate rages over the Obama administration’s plans to attack the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, commentator and author Joel Richardson, after returning from the Middle East, has released a video of two interviews he conducted with Syrian Christians who present a starkly different message from that which has been presented by the U.S. government.
The interviews feature a man and a woman who present a desperate and heartfelt appeal to the American people to oppose plans for missile attacks by the U.S., and other violence.
Their message is one of appeal both to Christians in the West for prayer, and a call to all those concerned with the plight of the Syrian people to speak out an behalf of Syria’s Christians, minority Muslim groups and even moderate Sunni Muslims.
The individuals say members of those groups will suffer tremendously if the ability of the Assad regime to stop the radical Islamist rebels from gaining control is diminished.
The interviewees’ faces have been hidden, and their identities and location within Syria have been withheld. Some minor interpretive edits were also made to the transcript to clarify portions where the English was slightly broken.
Over the past year, overwhelming evidence has come to light that the rebel groups largely supported by the United States, Gulf Arabs and Turkey have been taken over by al-Qaida’s Nusra Front in Syria, which refers to itself as “The Front for the Defense of the Syrian People.”
In May of this year, the UK’s Guardian reported on the plague of defections from the Free Syrian Army to al-Qaida’s Nusra Front. According to the Guardian, al-Nusra is the most well-funded, well-manned, and well-resourced rebel group in Syria.
Those interviewed confirm claims by Christians and minority groups in Syria that it is the deliberate and stated goal of the Nusra Front and affiliated Islamists to kill or chase from Syria every Christian.
A report just this week by the National Catholic Reporter features the testimonies of several Syrian Christian leaders claiming that numerous Christians have already been singled out for persecution, kidnapping or murder.
Earlier this year, a video surfaced online that shows numerous foreign jihadis in Syria gathering for the ritual beheading of two Syrian Christians to frantic shouts of “Allahu Akhbar!”
Joel Richardson is a prolific author who has penned the stunners “Mideast Beast” and “The Islamic Antichrist” as well as “The Return is Near” and “Understanding the Times.” He also collaborated on “Why We Left Islam.”
Then just this week, the al-Qaida Nusra Front reportedly seized the Christian city of Maaloula. Maaloula is one of only three cities remaining in the world where Western Aramaic, a dialect of the language spoken by Christ, is still spoken. The town was attacked by the joint coalition of the al-Nusra Front and the so-called Free Syria Army, which is frequently claimed by U.S. government officials to be moderate.
The Free Syrian Army is also known to be funded by the Saudi Arabian government and has several offices in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of lobbying support form American politicians.
See the interviews:
The man who was interviewed expresses his deep concern that if successful in their efforts to overthrow the Assad regime, the radicals will carry out more attacks against minorities on a mass scale. Speaking of the American people, he said:
They support the people who kill us and they don't know that. Many of the America and Western countries, support and are dealing with the most dangerous people in all the world, which is al-Qaida people. Maybe they say that they are dealing with free people or people who want freedom, but we live in that area and we know that people. And now all the world is supporting al-Qaida and al-Qaida people who want to kill everyone; not only the Christians. They want to kill the Christians, and Alawites and Sunni and Shia; everyone not like them.
As many Americans are still wrestling to understand the various players in the Syrian conflict, earlier this year, the BBC reported on the Jabhat al-Nusra's pledge of support and allegiance to al-Qaida.
Al-Qaida's latest frontman, Ayman al-Zawahiri, immediately called on the Nusra Front to engage in a full-on jihad to establish an Islamic Caliphate in Syria. The interview confirms the unfolding of this reality in recent months. According to the man who was interviewed:
What is happening now in Syria and other Arab countries, especially in Syria is that Jabhat Al-Nusra and radical Muslims, (Not all Muslims. We know there are a lot of Muslims who are very good people and peaceful people, from Sunni and Shiite and other groups), so I am speaking of Jabhat Al-Nusra and the radical Muslims. Their agenda is to divide Syria into many areas. Each area will be under the Islamic; radical Islamic control which means Al-Khilafa (an Islamic Caliphate). Already it has happened in many cities in Syria. They let the strong law of Islam control the people so the people drive and start fleeing from that area. Even though the Muslims who in the beginning thought that it was good to go back to Islam and to Quran. But when they saw that the people took only the bad side of Islam and tried to control the people by the sword, it [has become] very difficult. We've heard many testimonies. The people say in many areas of Syria the people; their fingers are cut off, or their head, or their arms are cut when they stole or their tongue is cut off if they speak a lie. It's very bad.
The Syrians have a rebuke for Presidents Bush and Obama. Of Bush, the Syrians lament the fact that the nation of Iraq, and most particularly the Christian community, was essentially destroyed, despite the fact that the primary goal for the war in Iraq, namely Saddam's possession of weapons of mass destruction, were never actually discovered. The Syrian said:
I just want to remind you as a people, think about what happened in the past. Because, we have to learn from our mistakes. Look at what happened in Iraq. Your government supported Saddam Hussein in the past and later they made a war with him. And they destroyed all of the country (of Iraq). It was big mistake and Bush said on the TV, "Sorry, it's just a mistake. We didn't find any chemical weapons, but it's a mistake." One mistake killed the whole country. So please learn from the past. The same thing happened with the Taliban. Your government supported the Taliban for many years. And later, they considered them to be al-Qaida people and started fighting them. It's a very strange thing.
Obama fares no better, in the Syrian's estimation.
When Obama became president, the Arab people, many Arab people, including the Christians, we became happy because Bush made a lot of trouble for us. And he made a bad war in Iraq. And when we see a lot of refugees, Iraqi refugees crying and they say to us, "It's a very bad war. We lost everything, we lost our country, we lost our property, we lost everything. It's no solution to go out from Iraq to America, to Canada or Australia. We have much pain in our hearts because we have been forced out of Iraq forever. We don't have any hope to go back to Iraq; it's our country." So we became happy when Obama became president. We didn't think one day that man would start to support al-Qaida, the people who really want to kill us, especially Christians.
Sen. John McCain is also singled out for coming to Syria, but only visiting with one side of the conflict; namely the side which is in allegiance with al-Qaida.
And McCain, when he came to Syria to visit the Syrian people, he only visited with one side. He visited the people with Jabhat al-Nusra who want to kill everyone. And he claims to have made the decision to support the people who want freedom. Maybe he thinks he will send weapons to innocent people but, of course, the weapons he will send will not go only to the innocent people. They will go also to the murderous people who want to kill innocent people. So please, please stand in front of your people, your president. Stand up to McCain.
Media also took some hits.
The media there is showing only one side. And the one side which is shown to the people is a big lie, because we know in our country, in the past this is what we experience. In the past we have freedom. We could do anything. We lived in peace and nobody threatened us; nobody wanted to kill us. We lived for not one or two or three years; we lived for many years…45 years, we were at peace. But suddenly now we are threatened every day.
In the second interview, the woman said Islamic law is causing additional violence.
The Salafis now in Syria, they are [forcefully] marrying the women. They just say "allahu akhbar" for any woman. They put their hands on any woman in the street. They say "allahu akhbar" and she will be for him. They put their hands on a car "allahu akhbar" it will become his, because he is in jihad. And they have brought a fatwa. This fatwa says that they can marry a 3 years girl, 6 years, 9 years. What kind of people you are supporting? Those people are the destroyers of humanity. They are against the rights of women. So how can as a free country support the people who are killing women, who are killing half of the society and innocent children?