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In 2016, I released a book in Swedish together with pastor Stefan Swärd called Jesus Was Also a Refugee. We commented the recent migration debate, providing the biblical teaching on loving, welcoming and blessing strangers (Lev 19:33-34, Mt 25:35).
I was not at all prepared for the huge amounts of Christians who would object to the book title. “Jesus was certainly not a refugee!” The same thing happened as the Christian Post published my Christmas reflection, inspired by Shane Claiborne, urging people to welcome refugees as they would welcome Christ. The comment section on CP’s Facebook page overflooded with arguments against the asylum status of our Savior and his parents.
Most of these arguments are bad. I mean, really bad. Here are the five weirdest ones I’ve come across so far: (more…)
A couple of days ago the leader of the main racist party here in Sweden was holding a very weird speech. Besides stating that you cannot separate what’s Christian and what’s Swedish, and demanding that Swedish churches must be built with Swedish material, he used the horrible sarin gas attack in Syria as an argument for not receiving refugees from there. Yeah, you heard me. He said that since the crisis in Syria is so severe, it is horrible for the Swedish government to waste money on asylum immigration instead of supporting the refugees in their local areas, i.e. refugee camps.
Perhaps he missed the news about Syrians wanting to return to the conflict because the circumstances in their Jordanian refugee camps are killing them.
I mean, God bless the UNHCR, we should really give as much as we can to them right now, but they can never ever offer the same security, welfare and peace that a Western country can. It’s ridiculously stupid to say that it’s cheaper to help refugees in their local areas than welcoming them to the West, because the results are extremely cheap as well. And no, the refugees that manage to get to a Western country don’t want to be deported to a refugee camp. If we really care about Syrian lives, we must welcome them to our countries.
While Mozambique, DR Congo and South Sudan also are facing enormous humanitarian crises, Mali is perhaps the African country which has most problems right now. Islamists supported by al Qaida have taken control of the northern parts of the country to practice extreme sharia laws, and to stop northern Mali from becoming a terrorist state, France is cooperating with the Mali government in a military offensive. In the midst of violent conflict are millions of civilians that already were poor, hungry and sick before. The result is disastrous. UNHCR reports:
Since the start of the conflict in northern Mali a year ago, more than 150,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso, while nearly 230,000 have sought safety in other areas inside Mali. […] Most are living in poor neighbourhoods with little or no access to housing or vital services such as clean water, education and health.
People fleeing the current fighting between French-backed government forces and rebels in the north of Mali tell alarming accounts of atrocities. A former resident of Gao, who left the northern town after recent air strikes, told UNHCR that food and fuel were in short supply.
“The situation in Gao is difficult. The rebels took all the medicines from Gao hospital. I saw dead bodies everywhere, in the yard of the hospital,” said Agesha, who fled the town last Sunday.
I strongly urge you to support Christian Aid’s West Africa Food Crisis Appeal, which will bring food and humanitarian relief to the people in Mali and surrounding areas. And I also urge you to pray for this country. There are few Christians in this country, and because of the rise of extreme Islamism, they are severely persecuted. Yet, the main thing Mali needs to get rid of war, poverty, terrorism and hunger, is a mighty Holy Spirit revival. They need a miracle, and they need it now.