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CSI: Syrian Religious Minorities Face Threat Of "Eradication"

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. John Eibner, the CEO of Christian Solidarity International (CSI- USA), testified today in a congressional hearing that the Syrian civil war "could lead to the eradication of religious minorities," including Christians, Alawite Muslims, Shia Muslims and Druze.

The hearing was a joint subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, held by Representative Chris Smith (R- New Jersey), and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R- Florida).

Eibner returned from a fact-finding and humanitarian aid mission to Syria on June 24, where he met with "many resilient and courageous Syrians, mainly displaced Christians and church workers." Eibner testified that "victims recounted to me the religious cleansing of Christian neighborhoods in Homs and Qusair by armed jihadis who threatened them with death if they did not leave their homes."

"A Christian woman told me that before she fled Homs, she had seen the beheading in broad daylight of an Alawite girl who was pulled off a public minibus by armed jihadis," Eibner said. 

Eibner also spoke of churches in Syria being "desecrated after falling under the control of the armed opposition," and "the targeted kidnapping of non-Sunnis." Eibner said he had learned of "a Christian girl who was kidnapped by armed insurgents and is now mentally deranged from the abuse." The kidnapping of two high-ranking bishops in Aleppo in April "is widely interpreted within the Syrian Christian community as a message to leave the country," Eibner said.

Eibner called on President Obama to pressure Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar to "end their support for armed Muslim supremacist forces in Syria" and "to cooperate with Russia in encouraging an end to Syria's sectarian civil war," noting, "We have already seen in Boston the tragic consequence of failure to cooperate adequately with Russia in combating the security threats posed by radical Sunni Islamism."

Representative Smith thanked Eibner for his testimony, and commended CSI for its "bold and effective leadership."

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