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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.