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Barnabas Update – October 20th 2021

Christianity not “a visa advantage”

Barnabas Fund, 15 October 2021 (excerpts)

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has denied that Christian faith is “a visa advantage” for believers in the Middle East fleeing persecution and violence.

The claim was made in The Times discussing the onslaught against Christians in Syria and Iraq by the Turkish military.

It suggested that “many Christians have received preference in applications for visas to the West”, … prompting “envy and anger among their non-Christian neighbours, who say that Christianity is now more a visa advantage than a faith”.  The claim that Christians are receiving any preference is flatly denied by Lord Carey.

The article, said Lord Carey, “is right that the exodus of Christians from their Middle Eastern homeland is a tragedy that is gathering pace. I doubt, however, it was ever true that Christianity could be described as a ‘visa advantage’”.

“Christian refugees from Iraq and Syria have struggled to be accepted for resettlement to any Western country, particularly the United Kingdom”, he added.

“Barnabas Fund obtained government figures in 2017 and 2018 which showed that, out of more than 8,000 Syrian refugees settled in the UK, only 25 were Christian (0.3 per cent). Before the Arab Spring, Christians represented about 10 per cent of the Syrian population.”

Noting that Afghan Christians now suffering the same situation, Lord Carey argued that the relocation scheme run by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) “discriminates against minorities to this day”.