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ICC Note: As extremism drastically increases towards Christians in the Middle East, more cases are picking up steam in the media. The world heard of Meriam Ibrahim’s tragic death sentence as a pregnant mother for her faith, and celebrated when she was released. Many, however, are still unaware of the thousands of Christians who are arrested, displaced, and forced to leave their homes for their faith. As these religious hostilities increase, many fear the disappearance of Christians from the region altogether.

By: Raymond Ibrahim

07/08/14 Middle East (Front Page Magazine) – The world heard of the plight of a Sudanese Christian wife and mother who, while eight months pregnant, was arrested and sentenced to public flogging followed by execution. Her crime? An Islamic court in Khartoum found her guilty of apostasy, that is, leaving Islam and converting to Christianity. It’s a crime punishable by death, according to some interpretations of Islamic law.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag, 27, who is married to an American, was released, rearrested, and then released again. It’s still uncertain whether her nerve-wracking ordeal is over yet.

But Meriam’s plight is nothing new or isolated. Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, has been languishing in prison since 2010, sentenced to death in Pakistan for “blasphemy.” Her husband and children went into hiding after death threats.

Persecution of Christians is one of the greatest human rights violations in the world today — and certainly the one least known in the West.

Religious hostilities are on the rise around the world, against Muslims, Hindus, Jews, folk religion followers and more. But the situation is so bad for Christians that the normally diplomatic Pope Francis just asserted: “The persecution of Christians today is even greater than in the first centuries of the Church, and there are more Christian martyrs today than in that era.”

To those familiar with the true history of early persecution — when Christians were habitually tortured to death, set on fire, fed to lions and dismembered to cheering audiences — his statement may seem exaggerated. But even today, as in the past, Christians are being persecuted for their faith and even tortured and executed.

In Egypt, while Christians were ushering in the 2011 New Year, Islamic terrorists bombed the Two Saints Church in Alexandria, killing 23 worshipers and injuring about 100 people. Coptic Christians and Muslims alike protested the bombing.

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