Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, Primate of the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Comments on the recent decision of President Donald Trump to restrict entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority nations, and to prioritize the refugee applications of Christians in the Middle East.
I was very sad to hear about President Trump’s decision, and fear it will not contribute to the security of the United States in any way. I appreciate the right of the government to protect the nation from terrorism, but this will not happen by preventing Muslims from coming to the country. The Oklahoma City bombing, we recall, was conducted by an American, not a Muslim.
President Trump’s policy is a naïve solution based on generalization and discrimination. The risk of terrorism should be dealt with by the security agencies on an individual basis and in cooperation with other nations. This decision will result in innocent people being barred entry, and refugees will suffer greatly.
Under so much pressure in their home countries, refugees need a refuge. Much poorer nations like Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt have been accommodating the thousands that the United States is turning away.
This decision is contrary to the teachings of the Bible, which requires us to welcome the stranger and treat him well. Jesus Christ, we must remember, was once a refugee in Egypt.
But President Trump’s decision to prioritize Christian refugee application will not help. Deep in my heart I do not want to see Christians leaving the place where Jesus was born, lived, and was crucified.
The Middle East will not be the Middle East without Middle Eastern Christians. It will change, and in more than just demographics. The beautiful mosaic will suffer, as will the church’s witness to Christ’s love among all the peoples of the region.