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Experts say Christian communities in Middle East will ‘die out’ unless urgent action taken

ICC Note:

“With attacks against Christians on the rise in majority-Muslim nations in the Middle East, experts say the future of Christianity in the region is gravely threatened, The Daily Caller reports.

By Caroline May

1/18/2011 Middle East (The Daily Caller) – With attacks against Christians on the rise in majority-Muslim nations in the Middle East, experts say the future of Christianity in the region is gravely threatened.

From the most restrictive countries to the more open ones, Christians are facing an uphill battle for survival in a majority of Middle Eastern countries. In the last ten years and especially in recent months, attacks against churches and Christian populations in Muslim lands have reached crisis proportions.

In almost every majority-Muslim nation in the Middle East the situation of Christians is worsening, according to Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute.

“You are seeing more of this violence across the board….You get governments which may be relatively secular, like Egypt. But the opposition is Islamist,” Marshall told The Daily Caller. “[Governments] want to look like they are defending Islam too. So [countries like] Egypt do not effectively protect its Christian communities.”

More substantial Christian communities, such as the Copts in Egypt, will likely have more of a chance for survival, Marshall said. Those countries in which Christians are already significantly out-numbered will likely see their Christian population vanish unless the violence against them is brought to an end.

“In a lot of the other countries [besides Egypt and Lebanon] where you have smaller [Christian] communities — Morocco, Nigeria, Turkey, Iran — at the moment, the fear is those communities will continue to diminish. It is parallel to Jews about fifty years ago,” said Marshall. “These communities are beginning to go and in a couple of decades, unless the situation changes, you’ll just have remnants of communities. They will die out.”

While avoiding Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis, David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, said he believes Islamists see the fight against the West as also an opportunity to purify their lands of religious minorities — namely Jews and Christians.

“It’s not just about Jews or Israel. What’s unfolding is a struggle between the West — Israel and the United States, Jews and Christians — against this strand of militant Islam. We’re all in this together,” he said.

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