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2017-06-07 16:35:54 Views : 326 |

News: Christians Are Disappearing from the Middle East



View from north side of the Qadisha Valley (Kadisha, وادي قاديشا), on the western outskirts of Blaouza (Blawza, بلوزا‎,), looking southeast towards the Mount Lebanon Range beyond the valley. (Wikimedia Commons Photo)


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By Eric Metaxas | June 6, 2017

 

We can’t say it often enough: Christians are disappearing from the Middle East. They need our prayers and support.

More than 20 Coptic Christians massacred in a bus on their way to Mass … the grisly double bombing at the Mar Girgis church near Cairo that slaughtered at least 45 people on Palm Sunday … these are only the latest outrages against Christians in the Middle East. Such attacks by ISIS and other Muslim terrorist groups—accompanied by the studied indifference of governments that claim to care about religious minorities—have sparked a tragic exodus of believers from their homelands.

That’s bad news not just for Christians, but for everyone. “The exodus leaves the Middle East overwhelmingly dominated by Islam, whose rival sects often clash, raising the prospect that radicalism in the region will deepen,” says Maria Abi-Habib in The Wall Street Journal. “Conflicts between Sunni and Shiite Muslims have erupted across the Middle East, squeezing out Christians in places such as Iraq and Syria and forcing them … abroad” to “Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.”

The phenomenon of disappearing Mideast Christians is one of the most massive and under-reported stories of our time. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary says that in 1910, 13.6 percent of the population of the Middle East was Christian. But after a century that saw the explosion of Christianity elsewhere in the world, by 2025, followers of Christ, if current trends hold, will constitute just over 3 percent of Middle Easterners.

My colleague Warren Cole Smith recently interviewed WORLD Magazine Senior Editor Mindy Belz for our BreakPoint podcast. She has seen firsthand the challenges Christians face in the Middle East. Mindy has been visiting the region since the Gulf War in 2003, meeting local Christians and hearing their plight.

At one point she set aside her strict journalist’s code, and she told Warren, “became an accomplice to Iraq’s Christians.” One stalwart Iraqi Christian woman asked Mindy to carry money across the border so she could minister to the church, and after serious soul-searching, Mindy did.

You can hear the entire fascinating one-hour conversation between Warren and Mindy when you subscribe to the BreakPoint podcast. You’ll also hear about Mindy’s outstanding and moving book, “They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East.”

 

 





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