Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Sunday, April 13th, 2014
Addressing the United Nations, Lebanese Cardinal Rai spoke about the realities confronting Christians in the Middle East. Rather than Christians being treated as a persecuted minority, a group that is somehow alien to the area, he pressed that Christians must be seen as a part of the Middle East fabric. They have suffered alongside of many others in the current hostilities, though often they have been targeted simply because of their religious identity. Yet, the Christian community still has a crucial role to play in the region.
Saturday, April 12th, 2014
Speaking at an Easter event, British Prime Minister David Cameron raised the issue of Christian persecution. “It is the case that Christians are now the most persecuted religion around the world. “We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other faith groups wherever and whenever we can,” he told the audience including representatives of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Monday, April 7th, 2014
Are Christians Persecuted in the Middle East? It’s almost an unbelievable question for anyone who looks at the reports emerging from the region. This should not be understood to say that Christians are the only ones suffering. There are numerous causes of suffering and destruction that has affected so many across the region, and that has led to the repression of basic human rights. The Christian community has a role to speak up for their own rights – but also the rights of all in the society.
Friday, March 21st, 2014
As religious and political leaders look at the trends from recent days, it is hard not fear that violence against Christians may continue to drive large numbers of them to seek refuge outside of their homelands. The level of violence has many looking back some 1300 or 1400 years to find a historical equivalent. Yet, far too often, when world leaders do speak on the issue, they fail to ever accompany those words with actions.
Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Why does it really matter if Christians stay in the Middle East? Why don’t they just leave? These questions cut to the heart of what is happening politically across the region. The vast majority of those living in the Middle East want to establish a system of governance that is inclusive off all peoples, regardless of their faith or other markers. If religious extremists are able to drive Christians out and establish an Islamic state, it will not be long before that same ideology will be applied on all those who fail to hold the extremist’s interpretations.
Monday, March 17th, 2014
Rising religious extremism is driving out a “religious pluralism” that has allowed for Christians, Muslims, Jews, and a variety of other faiths to live together. At a recent conference highlight the issue, a former minister from Lebanon highlighted how this trend is threatening to tear apart the region. He called on international groups, such as the United States, to back up their words with actions that will help to preserve the minority communities of the Middle East.
Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
The following interview with Thomas Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University, provides important insight into why Christians play such an important role in the Middle East and how the promotion of religious freedom and the protection of Christians specifically is in the best interests of all peoples in the Middle East, and even in the West as well.
Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
The library of an Orthodox priest in Lebanon was set aflame following accusations of blasphemy. The fire destroyed some 50,000 books and manuscripts in the city of Tripoli, Lebanon. What is most troubling about this kind of act is that it is not that uncommon. Across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, a charge of blasphemy can quickly lead to horrific acts whether the death of the accused or the destruction of thousands of books and manuscripts.
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
Slowly across the Western world we are seeing more and more political and thought leaders awake to the reality of Christian persecution, and the massive scale on which it is taking place across the Middle East. The horrific abuses have been largely ignored for a number of reasons from “political correctness,” fear of “doing God” in public, or taking sides in some sort of “clash of civilizations.” None of these, even if they were accurate, are justification for allowing massive crimes against humanity to take place with near total impunity and with little outcry from those countries who claim to be the defenders of human rights.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
A recent report highlights that in the midst of rising persecution more and more people want access to the scriptures. The distribution of Bibles has continued to increase around the world. In places like Syria, Iraq, and throughout North Africa access to the Bible is crucial to sustaining the church in the midst of the harsh realities of persecution they are suffering.
Sunday, November 3rd, 2013
Christian leaders gathered this weekend in an emergency meeting to discuss survival strategies in the face of advancing Islamist attacks across the region in the aftermath of the "Arab Spring" uprisings. The group issued a statement which called upon regional governments to take responsibility for protecting their respective religious minorities, and for all Christians in the region to stand in unity. The group is now in the process of preparing a plan of action in response to the emergency situation.
Monday, October 14th, 2013
In the coming year there will be major decisions forthcoming on a number of issues from Syria and Egypt to Iran and Afghanistan. While many of these decisions are viewed as largely political, the impact of these decisions will have serious implications for the Christian community in these countries. The church must be actively engaged in the political process to ensure that their basic rights are protected, otherwise the exodus of Christians from the region will continue.
Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
“It is chaos, it is violence, it is blood, it is death. Life has been paralyzed. We have lost everything,” a Syrian Church leader said. After two years of violence life has been put on hold and there is a feeling of hopelessness about the future. By some estimates 25% of the Christians have had to leave their homes because of the violence. Along with the urgent needs of material supplies is the need for hope to continue on with their lives.
Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
“We ignore too many things, and even more indefensibly, we pretend not to see too many things.” This is the reality for how much of the world has treated the intensifying war against Christians in much of the Middle East. Among many in the West there is a massive, and sometimes willful, ignorance of the realities confronting Christians around the world who are paying a high cost because of their faith. Many often thing of Christianity as a Western religion, though the reality is that nearly two thirds of the 2.2 billion Christians (Protestant and Catholic combined) live outside of the West and that number is rising. They are also far more likely to be the victims rather than the perpetrators of religious persecution.
Monday, October 7th, 2013
One of the most overlooked factors in understanding the political and cultural dynamics of the Middle East is the presence of the regions Christian communities. As the region has been in a state of upheaval for the past two years it has left many of these Eastern Christians wondering what future is left for them in the lands where they have lived for 2000 years. The reasons they are being driven out are numerous. They range from the very real threats of violence that has seen thousands killed as a result of their faith, to more subtle but just as damaging legal and political repression that clearly communicates they are no longer welcome as full members of society.
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
The plight of Christians in the Middle East is a story that often never makes the headlines. Unless the persecution of Christians happens to overlap with a major political interest, chemical weapons in Syria, a potential military coup in Egypt, etc., the story hardly gains any traction among the media and the political elites. There are many reasons for this, but among this that the decision makers are not made aware that this is an issue that people are personally concerned about and that their elected representatives ought to care about.
Friday, September 27th, 2013
When attacks occur on churches such as what happened in Pakistan, or the string of violence in Egypt over the past month, or the horrific stories that have emerged from Syria, they are often treated as isolated incidents. Through many of them there is a common thread of an extremist interpretation of Islam that motivates them. While certainly a minority opinion among the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims the threat is real. There is a need for leaders – from within faith communities, both Christian and Muslims, as well as media and politicians – to speak out against this dangerous interpretation of Islam.
Monday, September 23rd, 2013
There have been numerous incidents of violence across the Muslim world, from Pakistan, to Egypt, Kenya, and Syria. With the direct targeting and persecution of Christians overlapping with global political issues like Syria, some world leaders are starting to pay attention to the fact that Christian persecution is a sign of massive human rights abuse.
Friday, September 6th, 2013
At a gathering of Christian leaders from around the Middle East region many of them shared their concerns about military intervention from the United States or other Western countries. They see the massive humanitarian need and the personal crisis that has affected people and feel that the USA does not have any plan to assist them. They want the world to speak out for peace and justice and to work to ending the violence, not escalating it.
Thursday, September 5th, 2013
The two plus year civil war in Syria has created one of the largest refugee crises in recent years. More than two million Syrians have fled their homeland to escape the violence. This has put a massive strain on neighboring countries and has created security concerns. In Lebanon, there are an estimated 700,000 refugees. The strain on the economy has been noticeable as prices have increased, supplies are short on basic food staples. There are also security concerns. There have been numerous militant extremists who have flooded to the region to join the fight against Bashar al-Assad. These individuals are a threat to the security of both the refugees and the host country, especially to those who are not supportive of their extremist views of Islam such as the significant Christian population in Lebanon.
Monday, August 12th, 2013
In the midst of the civil war in Syria that has taken more than 100,000 lives, Syria’s 2 million Christians are in an extremely dangerous position. Under President al-Assad the situation had been stable, who himself from a minority had not wanted to lose the support of minorities. The opposition to Assad had begun as a movement for greater freedoms and rights but has been largely co-opted by militant Islamist groups including ties to radical extremists. This has led to a purging of non-Sunni’s from many rebel controlled areas. For the Christians it has left them with nowhere to turn, and even those who have fled Syria still are in fear of targeting because they are Christians.
Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
Syria’s civil war has ramifications that stretch beyond just its own borders. It has become a battleground for political groups battling for influence in the region. Lebanon to Syria’s south has been increasingly impacted by the shifting demographics of the Syrian conflict. During this conflict the Christian population has been forced out of their homeland due to threats of bombings, shootings, and kidnappings.
Monday, June 10th, 2013
The period known as the “Arab Spring” has seen the peoples of a number of countries throughout the Middle East take a more active and engaged role in the politics of their own nations. While there are some elements of this that are extremely positive the outcomes for some minority groups have been tragic and the indicators for the future are not positive. Continually raising the issue of the importance of all parties of society being represented in the politic system is of extreme importance.
Monday, December 17th, 2012
“A hundred years ago it's thought that around a fifth of the population of the Middle East was Christian... These days the figure is probably closer to 5%,” Kevin Connolly writes for BBC. This article explores the reasons for the mass exodus of Christians from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and throughout the Middle East.
Sunday, December 16th, 2012
Terry Waite returned to the place he was held hostage in Lebanon to bring attention to the plight of Middle Eastern Christians that have fled persecution in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. “The situation there is tragic,” Waite wrote in The Guardian. “There are now elements of the Arab spring that have been hijacked by Islamic extremists who want to impose sharia law and banish Syrian Christians.”
Saturday, October 27th, 2012
The lack of freedom and security experienced by religious minorities in the Middle East today raises concerns that many will "be tempted to emigrate" to Europe or the United States, "despite their great love of their homeland," said Bishop Maroun Nasser Gemayel. Bishop Gemayel believes that Syria is next where Christians—caught in a civil war between opposition forces and the army—fear for their country’s future.
Sunday, September 2nd, 2012
The Arab Spring quickly turned to winter for Christians following the political rise of Islamists and increased assaults on Christians and churches. As a result, thousands of Christians have fled or are preparing to flee Egypt, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries. The Kansas City Star takes an inside look at why Christians are leaving and what the future holds.
Sunday, July 22nd, 2012
As the Arab Spring gives rise to the Middle East’s new Islamist future, the Christian population—which is declining in number—searches for its identity, the American Spectator reports.
Saturday, June 30th, 2012
Raymond Ibrahim writes for the Gatestone Institute that, “In Indonesia, Muslims threw bags of urine on Christians during worship; in Kashmir and Zanzibar, churches were set on fire; and in Mali, Christianity ‘faces being eradicated.’” Ibrahim’s series, titled ‘Muslim Persecution of Christians,’ is published each month to document cases of persecution – whether it be general discrimination, arrests, or murder – committed by Muslims in majority Islamic countries, Asia and the West.
Friday, March 9th, 2012
“Despite understandable rhetoric, neither Nouri Al Maliki in Iraq nor Bashar Al Assad in Syria will desist from sacrificing their Christian minority populations, should circumstances warrant it,” Gulf News reports.