As Salaamu Alaykum,
Last night, the Trump administration seriously escalated the U.S.’s involvement in Syria’s civil war. Like many MPower Change members, I stayed up late, watching footage of the U.S. military launching missiles into Syria and listening to pundits try to make sense of this catastrophe.
The conflict in Syria has the uncanny ability to produce an endless variety of horrors: from the daily bombings of civilians by multiple air forces and the brutal violence committed by the Assad regime, to the gruesome actions of Daesh and the heartlessness shown towards Syrian refugees by so many nations around the world—especially our own. And now with reports of chemical weapons once again used against the Syrian people and the prospects of Trump’s missile attack ballooning into a bigger conflict, our sorrow has deepened even further.
Compounding the staggering human tragedy—with as many as nearly half a million killed since the conflict began1—the civil war has also brought about the destruction of schools, mosques, churches, and many of Syria’s ancient cultural heritage sites.2 “Al Sham,” as the region was historically known, is revered in our faith tradition as the “land of the believers”—made so by the number of Prophets and people of piety that have walked it, and its history as a center of sacred knowledge.
We won’t pretend to have any quick solutions or a concise analysis of the situation. There is no clear, fool-proof, strategic response—just as there’s no shortage of bad actors. All we know for sure is that the Syrian people have suffered unspeakable tragedy for far too long.
After the chemical attacks in Idlib, Syrian-American writer Lina Sergie Attar, co-founder and head of the Karam Foundation, reported the following:
We reach out to people on the ground to see what they need, what is missing from them on the ground, how can we alleviate their suffering and their pain. And this time, the response was very stark, very bleak. And they said, ‘Nothing you can send will save us. Nothing you can send will help us. All we need is your prayers.’3
While we still hold out hope that there’s something we can do to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people, today, we send them our prayers through these words:
God is sufficient for us and the best disposer of affairs. Nothing afflicts us except what God wrote for us. He is our patron. The best of patrons and the best of those who give aid.
We ask that you join in that prayer with us, or take a moment to send healing thoughts to the people of Syria in the way that you know best. We’ll keep you posted as we coordinate with our partners to identify the best ways that we can be helpful to Syrians in this moment.
Linda, Dustin, Mohammad, and the MPower Change team
P.S. While Trump has used Assad’s barbaric chemical attack as the pretext for his offensive, he’s hardly shown real concern for the Syrian people before this. That’s why we echo the call from our friends at MoveOn to stop any bombing and immediately open the U.S. to at least 100,000 more Syrian refugees. Click here to retweet this message.