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ICC Note: 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.
04/04/2014 Middle East (Huffington Post) – The answer from the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land is a qualified yes. The body issued a significant, if as-yet little noticed statement April 2, stressing that — while Christians throughout the Middle East are often singled out by Islamic extremists — both Christians and Muslims suffer from the upheaval that continues to jolt the region.
“In the name of truth,” the leaders of the Roman Catholic, Syriac Catholic, Chaldean, Melkite, and Armenian Catholic Churches said, “we must point out that Christians are not the only victims of this violence and savagery.” Though Christians “are at times targeted precisely because they are Christians … [there are] many others who are suffering and dying in these times of death and destruction,” the prelates proclaimed.
The statement also breaks new ground in its acknowledgement that some Christians — clinging to the relative security that “dictatorial regimes” afforded them, as was the case in Syria — should “perhaps” have spoken up sooner to denounce human rights violations and other abuses perpetrated by such governments.
These reflections suggest the delicacy of the work of agencies such as Aid to the Church in Need and the Catholic Near East Welfare Association as they respond to the need of Christian communities in the region.
The statement calls for a broad acknowledgement that, today, not only Christians but also moderate Muslims — in fact, the great mass of the affected populations–are both in need of support that can help them survive and the current wave of “persecution and destruction,” enabling them to eventually build “together a society in which new generations can live and prosper.”

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