At a recent evening gathering of our missional community in Stockholm, we were joined by two young Muslims from Syria. We spent some time getting their views on what was happening in their country – it was quite informative.
The young man with us had lived in Damascus and worked fixing computers. Life was manageable but life was getting harder. The prices of everything was rising all the time. It was dangerous to leave Damascus, there were curfews and the suburbs were very dangerous at night. So why did he leave Syria?
The government requested I join the army.
Which was polite of them.
Why should I go and kill for them or be killed for them? What for? Every man I know who has left Syria, has left for the same reason. They don’t want to fight for the government, they don’t want to fight against the government, they just want to live in peace.
What do you think of Bashar al-Assad (Syria’s preseident)?
He is not the problem. The system is the problem, we have dictators, one party for 40 years.
If there was a new government in Syria would you go back?
If it is Islamic government, no I won’t go back. There is no freedom. We definitely don’t want Islamic State.
What do you think is happening in Syria?
It is Russia and America having a fight in my house. Why are you here in my home?
It’s not just Russia and America is it?
No, there are lots of people fighting in our house! I saw a man with a machine gun in the street. He was from Afghanistan. Afghanistan! What is he doing in Syria?
Does he think he will be able to return?
The spirit of killing is in my country. It has been destroyed, everyone is just trying to kill everyone.
What about the neighbouring countries, why not go there?
There is nothing in the camps in Jordan and the other Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia we can’t go. In the camps they don’t look after the children, there is no schooling, there is nothing. They don’t look after you there. The Arabs they don’t care for you. Europe they look after you.
This young man had a choice to fight for a government he does not support against an enemy that is not his in a war he does not want, ‘why should I kill for them?’
It’s a good question. Now having left he can’t return without being forced into the army and he won’t return if the Islamists win. At the end of the evening we prayed to the Prince of Peace for these young Syrians, that would know His peace and that peace would return to Syria.