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Mark Ellse: We should work out who our friends are – and stick by them


‘Get up,’ the angel said to Joseph, ‘take the child Jesus and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’

For obvious reasons, Christmas is a time when Christians automatically think of the problem of refugees, this Christmas even more so because there is clearly such a problem in the Middle East, which has an impact on Europe. It is easy to dismiss the crowds trying to get here as ‘economic migrants’. There is some truth in that. But it is also worth considering the position of those in real need.

In August 1944, the residents of Warsaw could hear the Russian guns approaching the city. It was clear that the Nazis were about to be vanquished. ‘Rise up!’ said the Russians. ‘We are here to free you.’ And rise up the Poles did indeed. Confident of the coming support, they came out of their houses and fought the German invaders.

And the Russians stayed back. Faced with the tremendous fire power of the Nazi forces, the Poles had no chance. Warsaw was demolished and 200,000 Polish lives were lost. When the Russians restarted their advance and moved into the city, gone were all the leaders of the Polish resistance. They found the capital in the perfect state for the installation of a puppet government. The annexation of Poland to the Soviet Bloc followed.

Evil, but highly effective. Stalin’s objectives had been achieved.

In May 2013, David Cameron said that ending the bloody conflict in Syria was the most pressing global challenge, and pledged to step up the non-lethal equipment being shipped to forces trying to overthrow President Assad. What more encouragement could one give to the insurrection?

In August 2013, the House of Commons voted against military action in Syria.

Who would one rather be governed by? A nice incompetent man or an efficient dictator? It is worth posing the question. But although David Cameron’s action over the rebellion in Syria was unwise, rather than evil, its effects were twice as bad is Stalin’s. Approaching half a million have died in the civil war so far.

As the civil war progressed, it became clear that there was a force more evil than Assad that was in danger of getting the upper hand. Almost any ordinary person could have told Cameron that. Middle East countries do not abound with nice and friendly rebels whose only aim is to set up well-behaved democracies. For a while it looked as though so-called Islamic State (ISIS) was going to take over Syria and much of Iraq. By then our Government had come to its senses. In December 2015, it agreed to air strikes against ISIS. This action provided British support for Assad. We sided with Russia, assisting Assad against his enemies.

It’s a salutary tale. Unlike the straightforward evil of a Herod or Stalin, as much damage can be done by those with good intentions.

It may seem bizarre but the UK government supports other organisations that are bent on overthrowing regimes in the Middle East. The Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni Islamist organisation that started in Egypt. For a while it was in power, at which point it initiated unprecedented attacks on the Christian population. Those attacks continue in areas in which they have control. Click here to find out more about the persecution of Christians in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood has a strong presence in the UK and is supported by your friend and mine Anjem Choudary, currently in jail for supporting ISIS.

The extraordinary fact is that the UK grants asylum to members of the Muslim Brotherhood. If their work in Egypt fomenting unrest and killing Christians gets too hot, their membership of that organisation is a reason for getting asylum in the UK. If you look on that link you will see that the conditions for getting asylum in the UK for Christians are described very similarly.

Can we really not tell the difference between Christians in Egypt who support our society and that of Egypt, entirely, and the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks our destruction?

The more one looks into the asylum system, the more strange one sees it to be.

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Mark Ellse
Mark Ellse
Mark Ellse is a physicist and author. He is a former headmaster, independent school inspector and A level chief examiner.

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