The Syrian civil war entered its second year a month ago, and the country's Christian minority has been caught in its midst.
Many Syrian Christians live in Damascus, Aleppo and Homs, all of which are cities strongly contested by the government and the rebels. Many have fled to nearby Lebanon.
Only about a week before his kidnapping, Archbishop Ibrahim had told BBC Arabic that Syrian Christians are in the same situation as their Muslim neighbors.
"There is no persecution of Christians and there is no single plan to kill Christians. Everyone respects Christians. Bullets are random and not targeting the Christians because they are Christians," he said.
United Nations estimates indicate that about 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict. More than 1 million refugees have flooded into Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq, while another estimated 2.5 million are internally displaced inside Syria.
The Greek and Syriac Orthodox Patriarchs of Antioch stated together April 23 that "the Christians living here are an essential part of their lands. They suffer the pain every person suffers, and work as messengers of peace to lift the injustice off every oppressed person."
"We call the kidnappers to respect the life of the two kidnapped brothers as well as everyone to put an end to all the acts that create confessional and sectarian schisms among the sons of the one country."
"We can but call the whole world to try putting an end to the Syrian crisis so that Syria becomes again a garden of love, security and coexistence. Settling accounts should not happen at the expense of the human beings who live here," they pleaded.
Farr stated that "what the State department should be doing – not yet in Syria, because it's still a war zone – but in all the countries where such a thing happens with some regularity … we should be working not simply to react after they happen, but to engage with these governments and societies to develop structures of religious freedom."
In addition to citing Muslim-majority countries, Farr mentioned China, India and other non-Muslim nations which need to be actively encouraged in religious freedom by the U.S. These countries should be urged to develop religious liberty as an important component for a peaceful, flourishing society, he said.
"I think U.S. foreign policy, when it comes to issues like religious persecution...is primarily reactive, and that's not enough. We need to be working to convince societies that they have to prevent this from happening in the first place, because it harms their interests."
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As an example, he pointed to the April 7 attack of an Islamic mob on the Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo, slaughtering Christians there.
"We shouldn't just be reacting to that," Farr emphasized. "We should be getting in front of the problem and convincing the Egyptians that it's in their interest to develop religious freedom."
Religious persecution, he concluded, "is going on all the time, so to condemn it is something we ought to do, but we should be getting in front of the problem."