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These scenes of destruction and murder have been repeated all over the Middle East. Whatever one can say about tyrants like Saddam Hussein and Hosni Mubarak, they feared the Islamists and kept them from causing the kind of mayhem that is afflicting Christian populations across the region. And the destruction of churches and murders of Christians are not isolated incidents. There has been a systematic targeting of Christians in Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Iran, as well as Egypt. The attacks are inspired by extremist clerics, and condoned to one degree or another by authorities.
Despite Christians living and worshiping in the Middle East for 2,000 years, those communities are now in danger of disappearing. A report by the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights reveals that 100,000 Christians have fled Egypt since March, with 250,000 expected to leave before the end of 2011. In Iraq, it’s even worse. A State Department report last year on religious freedom around the world showed that 50% of Iraqi Christians had left the country since the US invasion. And in Sudan, tens of thousands of Christians in the Nuba Mountains are being bombed daily by Sudanese military forces and suffer house to house raids at the hands of President Bashir’s forces.
One is forced to confront an uncomfortable reality: if any other minority group — racial, ethnic, or tribal — was suffering from government-condoned persecution carried out by out of control mobs, the outrage in the Western press and from Western governments would be loud and sustained. So why don’t Christians in the Middle East rate that kind of concern?
Writing in the American Thinker, Cheryl Halpern points out the near silence from mainline churches who “are surprisingly unalarmed by this persecution.” Halpern adds, “Many U.S. and U.K. churches are more focused on boycotting and divesting from Israel, which is odd since Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is growing in number.”
Indeed, a combination of animus directed against Israel and a shrinking from offending Muslim sensibilities would seem to be the logical reason for the silence regarding a region-wide persecution that threatens Christians in the shadow of the birthplace of their faith.
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