Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

New Study Warns that Christianity is Disappearing from Middle East

December 31, 2012 9:46 pm 0 comments

The Monastery of the Cross Church in Jerusalem. Photo: Yosarian/Wikimedia Commons.

A new study warns that Christianity is at the risk of being wiped out in the biblical heartlands of the Middle East. According to the London Daily Telegraph, which cites the study, 10 percent of Christians worldwide – approximately 200 million – are “socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.”  With over 2.3 billion Christians around the world, the study notes that Christians face the most persecution in the region of the world where Christianity first originated – the Middle East.

“The pace of this assault is now intensifying with the rise of militant Islam in countries such as Egypt, Iraq and now with the civil war, Syria,” states the report, entitled Christianophobia.

Published by a leading independent British think tank, Civitas, the report stated that Western politicians and media generally ignore widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world “because they are afraid they will be accused of racism.”

On Christmas day last week, Iran imprisoned for the second time, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, 35, who had been previously jailed for nearly three years for practicing Christianity and rejecting to provide an Islamic education for his children.  His attorney has also been imprisoned, according to Fox News.

The study states that Christians more than any other religious group are the most likely to be persecuted or discriminated against and “are particularly at risk in Muslim-dominated societies.

“Oppression is magnified by anti-Americanism and the false belief that Christianity is a “Western” creed, even though it originated in the Middle East and has been an integral part of that region’s belief systems for 2000 years,” indicates the report which was written by journalist Rupert Shortt, who is also the religion editor of the Times Literary Supplement.

The author cites that somewhere between half and two-thirds of Christians have left the Middle East or have been killed over the past century.  In the early 1900s, Christians made up 20% of the Middle East’s population while, today, Christians make up no more than 5% of the population.

However, the study also points out that much of the Christianophobia phenomenon has nothing to do with militant Islam, and names Buddhist societies in Sri Lanka and Burma, as well as China and North Korea as societies where Christians are persecuted.  Shortt also says that other factors play a role in Christian persecution including Western interference in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The author emphasizes that he “does not endorse talk about a supposed ‘clash of civilizations.'”

The report addresses in detail seven Muslim and non-Muslim countries where Christian persecution dominates: Egypt, Iraq, and Pakistan, Nigeria, Burma, China and India.

One area in the Middle East, however, where the Christian population is thriving is in Israel. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), there are 158,000 Christians living in Israel, which represent two percent of the population. Approximately 80% of Christians in Israel are Arabs, who reside mainly in the northern areas of the country, while the rest are immigrants from the Soviet Union.  The Christian Arab sector in Israel also has the highest number of high school graduates, according to the report, with 64% earning a high school diploma, compared to 59% for Jews, and 48% for Muslims.

Over 3.5 million Christians from across the world visited Israel in 2012, up four percent from last year, with the USA as the largest single country of incoming tourists, followed closely by Russia according to Israel’s Ministry of Tourism.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features World Graves of Jewish Pirates in Jamaica Give Caribbean Tourists Taste of Little-Known History

    Graves of Jewish Pirates in Jamaica Give Caribbean Tourists Taste of Little-Known History

    Tour operators are calling attention to Jamaica’s little-known Jewish heritage by arranging visits to historic Jewish sites on the Caribbean island, including a cemetery where Jewish pirates are buried. A report in Travel and Leisure magazine describes the Hunts Bay Cemetery in Kingston, where there are seven tombstones engraved with Hebrew benedictions and skull and crossbones insignia. According to the report, centuries ago, Jewish pirates sailed the waters of Jamaica and settled in Port Royal. The town, once known as “the wickedest city in the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Filmmaker Eyal Resh Embraces the Challenge of Telling Israel’s Story (VIDEO)

    Filmmaker Eyal Resh Embraces the Challenge of Telling Israel’s Story (VIDEO)

    JNS.org – Telling Israel’s story. It’s the specific title of a short film that Eyal Resh created last year. It’s also the theme behind the 27-year-old Israeli filmmaker’s broader body of work. The widely viewed “Telling Israel’s Story” film—directed by Resh for a gala event hosted by the Times of Israel online news outlet—seemingly begins as a promotional tourism video, but quickly evolves to offer a multilayered perspective. “I want to tell you a story about a special place for me,” a young woman whispers […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Israel Geeks Out: Science, Art and Tech Event Embodies Jewish State’s ‘DNA’

    Israel Geeks Out: Science, Art and Tech Event Embodies Jewish State’s ‘DNA’

    JNS.org – The entrance to Jerusalem’s Sacher Park was transformed from April 25-27 by a fire-breathing robotic dragon, which flailed its arms and attempted to take flight. The robot, a signature feature at Jerusalem’s first-ever “Geek Picnic,” was one of more than 150 scientific amusements available for the public to experience. This particular dragon was designed by students from Moscow’s Art Industrial Institute in conjunction with the Flacon design factory, said Anatasia Shaminer, a student who helped facilitate the display. Children […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love. CreateSpace, 2015. The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love, is a very interesting novel. Equally a political and romantic thriller, at times a real page-turner, it gets you intimately involved in the dire situation in today’s Syria, as well as in the romantic entanglements of its mostly New York-based characters — whose entanglements just might determine the fate of that dire situation in Syria. Along the way it introduces a really important idea that somehow […]

    Read more →
  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →