Christianity 'close to extinction' in Middle East

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Steve Davis's picture

A few years ago while in Lebanon I took a taxi from Beirut to Damascus with two Arab Lebanese Christians. Our purpose was to meet and bring aid to Christian Iraqi refugees who had been forced to leave their country. Although these Christians received me as a Christian brother they shared with me their assessment of the situation in Iraq following the US invasion. They told me, "The US has destroyed our country." Many of them came from the city of Mosul where a Baptist church had been planted right after the invasion. Their pastor, an Iraqi and personal friend, was shot along with his mother on their way to church. They both survived but the pastor, who now lives in Lebanon, will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair as a result of his spine being severed. Let no one be deceived about the Islamist agenda.

Charlie's picture

Just a month or two ago, my theology department had a long presentation and Q&A with the director of the Middle East branch of Catholic Relief Services. The major topic was the future prospects of Christianity in the Middle East. His take was that the greatest danger to Christianity there is not persecution, but emigration. There are only a few real hot zones of persecution, and usually the most religious violence is directed against heterodox Muslims. 

Persecution is a real concern, but far, far more Christians are simply emigrating to the West. In several Middle Eastern states with no or very mild persecution (more like discrimination), almost the entire Christian population has emigrated. 

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Jim's picture

http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/12/mideast_christians_an_endangered_...

 

Despite Muslim domination of the region, Christians comprised an estimated 20% of the Middle East population until the early 20th century. Today, however, Christians make up a mere 2-5% of the Middle East and their numbers are fast dwindling. Writing in the Winter 2001 issue of Middle East Quarterly, scholar Daniel Pipes estimated that Middle East Christians would "likely drop to" half of their numbers "by the year 2020" because of declining birth rates, and a pattern of "exclusion and persecution" leading to emigration.
The "Arab Spring" has only worsened conditions for the indigenous Christians of the Middle East.

Steve Davis's picture

Charlie wrote:

Just a month or two ago, my theology department had a long presentation and Q&A with the director of the Middle East branch of Catholic Relief Services. The major topic was the future prospects of Christianity in the Middle East. His take was that the greatest danger to Christianity there is not persecution, but emigration. There are only a few real hot zones of persecution, and usually the most religious violence is directed against heterodox Muslims. 

Persecution is a real concern, but far, far more Christians are simply emigrating to the West. In several Middle Eastern states with no or very mild persecution (more like discrimination), almost the entire Christian population has emigrated. 

 

Thanks for your input on this subject. That might be correct in places where there is not conflict related to regime change and where Christians have historically faced discrimination short of outright persecution. From my limited experience and contacts in the ME I still think much of the emigration in many places is due to either outright persecution or the fear of an Islamic state. It looks like what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan is being repeated in Syria.