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...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →