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Articles

Posted on Sun 1 November 2015

Compassion To Refugees, Not Capitulation To Islamic State

The human tide of refugees, economic migrants, young men fleeing conscription and others who have arrived on Europe’s shores shows no sign of receding. As always, there are heart-rending stories of why people have undertaken hazardous journeys by land and sea. The human toll in terms of suffering and loss of life is enormous. There is also the seamier side of this huge migration, with traffickers making fortunes out of human misery.

How then should we respond to this new reality on our doorsteps? The first and immediate thing is to say is that we must not fail in compassion. The Bible tells us not only to love our neighbours as ourselves but also strangers because the people of Israel were once strangers in Egypt until they were liberated by God (Lev 19:33-34). Jesus himself reaffirms this teaching and makes it his own (Mark 12:29-31 and parallels). The rest of the New Testament also teaches that this is a fundamental Christian duty (e.g. Rom 13:8-10).

These values lie behind the warm reception which the refugees and migrants have received in some European countries. It is what has motivated the churches and Christian volunteers to help with food, shelter, clothing and medical provision for those arriving on their borders. Such warm humanitarianism cannot and should not be belittled. Nor should a determination to see that history is not repeated in turning people away who may be in real danger in their own or in neighbouring countries.

Having said that, we must also ask about the causes of the crisis and what can be done to address them. We have to ask too about the role of international agencies in the crisis, as well as that of regional powers.

The read the full article, published by Standpoint. Click Here.