In the city of Mytilene on the Greek island of Lesbos, Christmas is approaching. A tree on the main square is alight in blue; a Nativity scene has Mary and Joseph standing vigil beside the baby Jesus. Locals are busily shopping for gifts and sipping coffee at cafes.
Just 15 minutes up the road, at the refugee and migrant camp called Moria, it is not Christmas but winter that is approaching. More than 6,000 souls fleeing the world’s most violent conflicts — in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo — are crowded in a space meant for 2,330.… Seguir leyendo »
Seven years ago, I stood in the chapel of a monastery in the Syrian desert and stared up at a wall of frescoes from the 13th century.
Nearby, a burly man in a gray habit was explaining the paintings to a family visiting from a neighboring village. “That’s Mariam, may peace be upon her,” he said, pointing up. He moved his hand toward the bearded portrait of a man. “And that’s Ibrahim al-Khalil, may peace be upon him.”
Though it may seem like a mundane story, it was anything but ordinary. The visitors, who had climbed a flight of some 350 stairs to arrive there, were Muslims.… Seguir leyendo »