Christian refugees are treated with at best indifference in much of the so-called ‘Christian’ west, and sometimes actively discriminated against, but Hungary’s government has set up a ministry solely devoted to the welfare of persecuted Christians, particularly in the Middle East and Europe, with an initial budget of $3.35 million. Whilst its parameters are still being fixed, its main focus is said to be humanitarian. There are hints that it may include Pakistan in its definition of ‘Middle East’ as a notice at the Hungarian embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, asks for asylum seekers to provide their personal details, and await to hear back. A very significant proportion of those are Pakistani Christians.
So far, Hungary is the only Western nation to set up such a ministry, barring one that Canada set up for a brief period. One or two other nations, most notably Poland, have taken measures to help Christian refugees. However, reports indicate that the locals were not always very welcoming, and the government, although welcoming, didn’t have a good employment program, and many such refugees moved to Germany seeking better economic opportunities, and many of those were sent back to their original countries as economic migrants, not genuine refugees.
British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) Chairman Wilson Chowdhry said ‘We welcome this move, especially if it includes Pakistani Christians in its remit, as seems likely. Jesus said that on judgement day nations and peoples will be judged on what they did to help suffering Christians, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there are tangible blessings in this life in amongst the challenges. We ask for prayer that this opportunity will be used to best effect, and we urge Pakistani Christians who need to escape Pakistan, Thailand and so forth to seriously consider moving to Hungary if that option becomes available.’
He added that it was expected that like Poland, the local population may not be so welcoming, and that it would be hard to find work and study opportunities initially, but that local standards of education are low, and although wages too are low, housing is cheap. However the law and traditions are Christian based, and adapting to local customs, working to aid the locals and making contact with local churches will help to warm initially cold feelings. He pointed out that because of EU rules, after a few years, any who go to Hungary and obey the rules and don’t seek employment elsewhere will be able to legally work across the EU.