Syria at a violent impasse. At least half of a million people have been killed, half of Syria’s population is in need of aid, and 13 million have been displaced, causing the worst humanitarian crisis of our lifetime. Syria’s crisis has shades of the Second World War, in that the suffering is historic in scale, the spillover is beyond containment, and many have a stake in the outcome. It is a test of our global order and of our collective conscience. It is moreover a test of our faith. Syrians, abandoned by the world, have only their faith to turn to. We, then, must ask ourselves if the collective voice of our communities can answer, if our worship has a function on the world stage, and if our covenant with God indeed extends to our fellow human beings. If yes, then we must insert ourselves into the conversation about Syria, beginning at home.
Syria matters. Many countries have a hand in today’s conflict, and Syria’s spillover effects, which included refugees and violent extremism, have had far-reaching consequences. Moreover, innocent blood is being spilled, and many had the means to prevent this. We must not resign to prayer when our words and actions have not been exhausted. Syria matters in what it once represented, and what it represents: pluralism under attack. Syria was once the cradle of civilization, and home to numerous faith communities. We mourn the deaths of many, and the violence waged against Syria’s people; we believe in the ability of the Syrian people to rebuild their country.