By Theodore Shoebat
Muslim jihadists fighting for the Al-Nusra Front terrorist group (or ANF), has been for months attacking and trying to invade the Christian city of Mhardeh. It is amongst the last Christian strongholds in Syria, and now the Muslim heretics are closing in on the city.
As one native Christian named George Rahhal told Al-Shorfa, said:
The situation in the town has been tense since around the beginning of August, when ANF gunmen moved in very close to the town’s limits… The gunmen have been sniping and shelling the town, which has kept its residents in a constant state of panic… They have also targeted the electric power and telecommunication facilities, and a number of residents have been killed and wounded as a result of the daily shelling.
But the Christians of Mhardeh are not aspiring to live a life of servitude under the scimitar, and nor is it their hope to see their ancient Christian city now under the control of barbarian heretics.
One of the militants, a university student named Rami al-Saad, said:
I carry a weapon as do hundreds of residents to defend our town and its people against the crimes we anticipate ANF and the factions under its wing would commit against us, should they succeed in entering the town
The Christian militants work with the Syrian military and even hundreds of local Muslim residents, to defend their town against the jihadists. Al-Nusra is bombarding the Christian town with sporadic incursions and incessant shelling. One of the most popular Islamic ideologues, Al-Mohaisany, is even using twitter to encourage the Muslim jihadists to conquer the Christian town.
But the militias of Christ, the tenacious fighters who are combating the Muslims for the sake of their Faith and for Orthodoxy, are having none of it.
Simone (known as “Abu-Fadh), the leader of the Christian militia, called the National Defense, has said that he does not want his city to become another Maaloula, a very ancient Christian town that was taken over by jihadists who slaughtered many of the inhabitants for refusing to convert to Islam. Simone said:
we will not be a second Maaloula and we will certainly not permit our fate to be like that of the people of Mosul. Martyrdom on this land is one hundred times better than whetting the sympathy of the international community in order to fight ISIS or to stay alive.
Simone explains that within the militia there are two hundred fighters who are very well trained and know how to execute calculated ambushes, and possess an effective element of surprise when fighting the enemy. As Simone affirms:
they are all fighting with the National Defense, but those who are actually trained and are able to bring an element of surprise number no more than two hundred. They are well-trained and constitute the fundamental support for the Syrian Army in the event of any assault by Jabhat al-Nusra on the entrances to the city. We have logistical teams and an emergency team to assist victims.
The job of the militia is to be the second line of defense for the Syrian army. If the Syrian government troops fail, then the Christian warriors come for their defense. In the words of Simone:
National Defense is the second line of defense after the Syrian Army, which constitutes the first line of defense. If any of the army’s positions falls, we go directly to support it and regain control.
The Christians who fall in battle are esteemed as Bridegrooms for Christ; holy martyrs upon whose heads are crowns of glory. Simone says
Weddings have not ceased in Mhardeh and even at funerals we process our martyr like a bridegroom.
The leader of the militia has ardently affirmed that even if the Church objects to what they are doing, they are still in accordance with the teachings of the Church, for they are defending the Body of Christ, without which cannot exist. In the words of Simone:
we were compelled to bear arms in order to defend our history, our civilization and our dignity. We did not choose this of our own free will, but we will not permit our land and our families to be violated. …even if the Church does not openly support bearing arms, she is with us implicitly because our existence is part of her existence.
When Saul failed to unsheathe the sword of justice upon the tyrant Agag, king of the Amelekites, it was the prophet Samuel, who took up the temporal sword that was suppose to be executed by the state, and executed divine vengeance upon him, telling the wicked despot before killing him,
As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal. (1 Samuel 15:33)
This story shows that when the king is too corrupt to execute vengeance on the enemies of God (his divinely appointed office), then the leaders of the Church are in the position to establish divinely needed justice within their own authority, slaying the evildoers worthy of deserving death, just as Samuel killed Agag when Saul, the king chosen by God to defend His people against the enemy, was incompetent to utilize the sword of the state. Or, when the government is hostile to Orthodoxy, the Church then has the authority to use trained warriors, and even people, to overthrow it and its false religion.
For when Queen Athaliah took the throne, destroyed the royal heirs, and established the worship of Baal in Israel, it was the priest Jehoiada, and not a secular arm of the state, who raised up an army to defend the infant Jehoash, who was the rightful successor to the throne, and to protect the temple, and he had the people of Israel slay Athaliah, destroy her pagan temple, kill her pagan priest, and shatter her altars:
“Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people, and also between the king and the people. And all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal, and tore it down.
They thoroughly broke in pieces its altars and images, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the Lord. Then he took the captains of hundreds, the bodyguards, the escorts, and all the people of the land; and they brought the king down from the house of the Lord, and went by way of the gate of the escorts to the king’s house. Then he sat on the throne of the kings. So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet, for they had slain Athaliah with the sword in the king’s house.” (2 Kings 11:17-20)
When the Jews were under the sovereignty of the Persians, and were working to rebuild the Temple, they were encompassed by rapacious pagans, who cried out with heathen fury, ““They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.” (Nehemiah 4:11) The Jews, with the greatest consternation, cried out, “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.” (Nehemiah 4:12) What was Nehemiah to do? He could not turn to the officers of the state, nor depend upon the government for protection.
He thus resolved to form a militia, not of civil troops, but of common folk. He did not think twice when he “positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows.” (Nehemiah 4:13) He did not hesitate when he declared to the people with fortitude, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (Nehemiah 4:14)
Nehemiah was not some vigilante, but a prophet. Therefore it is the right of the Church to defend itself against conniving wolves and enemies who conspire and plan for its destruction. It was because of the weapons bore by the people, under the command of their holy prophet, that the pagans were struck with fear, and delayed their ambush. As the Nehemiah wrote:
And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. (Nehemiah 4:15-18)
The command of Nehemiah to bear a sword by one’s side, is in accordance to the injunction of Christ when He told the Apostles,
But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. (Luke 22:36)
When the Church is surrounded by pagan enemies, left to the slaughter by indifferent governors, is deprived of state troops or officers to protect it, but is in possession of arms and weapons to unsheathe against its charging adversary, Christians then form militias, and with justice and equitableness, strike the devilish foes before they oppress the vulnerable flock.
Christian militias are organized for several reasons: to defend the Church from oppression and attacks; to protect the defenseless, and to uproot the pagan threat before it makes a great slaughter of Christians. All of the goals of the Christian militias are governed by one virtue: justice.
If any action goes against, or as has nothing to do with justice, then it must be cast aside. Every crusade, and ever holy war, must be done for the advancement of justice and for the destruction of tyranny. As the wise Solomon says, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Therefore, the Christian warrior must revolve his actions around the Law of God, and since the two laws, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’ and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” “hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40), then the Christian militant must always strive to defend God and to defend his fellow man.
This is the ultimate obedience to the divine precepts, for “all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Galatians 5:14), and since Christ said that “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13), then the Christian warrior follows the law in the greatest fashion and with the fullest exertion. For he lays down his life, fighting against the enemies of God, defending his friends and loving his neighbor by protecting him from harm.
This is the heart of the Crusader, the glorious knight. This is the spirit of Christian Militancy.