Home > Radical Islam, Wars and Rumors of War > Mideast Christians: Endangered In Their Ancestral Land, ‘Their Numbers Are Fast Dwindling’

Mideast Christians: Endangered In Their Ancestral Land, ‘Their Numbers Are Fast Dwindling’


Matthew 24:22,27, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened… For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

By Noah Beck, The Commentator – “Last Saturday, Raymond Ibrahim reported on two more Muslim attacks on Egyptian churches, as ‘Egypt’s Christian Copts continue to be targeted and scapegoated for the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood.’

As defenceless and abandoned as Mideast Christians seem today, it is worth remembering their historical roots, and recognising just how much the plight of Middle East Christians has deteriorated. Over 2,000 years ago, Christianity was born as a religion and spread from Jerusalem to other parts of the Levant, including territories in modern Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt.

The Christian faith flourished as one of the major religions in the Middle East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. Despite Muslim domination of the region, Christians comprised an estimated 20 percent of the Middle East population until the early 20th century.

Today, however, Christians make up a mere 2-5 percent of the Middle East and their numbers are fast dwindling. Writing in the Winter 2001 issue of Middle East Quarterly, scholar Daniel Pipes estimated that Middle East Christians would ‘likely drop to’ half of their numbers ‘by the year 2020’ because of declining birth rates, and a pattern of ‘exclusion and persecution’ leading to emigration.

The ‘Arab Spring’ has only worsened conditions for the indigenous Christians of the Middle East. Like the Kurds, Middle East Christians are a stateless minority, struggling to survive in the world’s toughest neighborhood.

But the Kurds at least have enjoyed partial autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan since 1991 and most of them are Sunni Muslim, making it easier for them to survive in the Muslim-dominated Middle East. Christians, on the other hand, are a religious minority that controls no territory and is entirely subject to the whims of their hosts. These host countries – with the exception of Israel – offer a grim future to Middle East Christians.

Home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, Egypt also has the largest Christian population in the Middle East, totaling 8-12 million people. But because Christian Copts make up only about 10-15 percent of Egypt’s estimated 80 million people, they have for decades lived in fear as second-class citizens, subjected to attacks on churches, villages, homes, and shops; mob killings; and the abduction and forced Islamic conversion of Christian women compelled to marry Muslim men.

Such abuse took place under the staunchly secular regime of Hosni Mubarak, but grew much worse under the rule of Mohammed Morsi, the jailed Muslim Brotherhood activist who succeeded Mubarak, and they are now being blamed for Morsi’s ouster.

In Lebanon, Christians represent a bigger portion of the population, so their fate is for now less precarious than that of their Egyptian coreligionists, but their long-term prospects are worrisome. The Christian population is estimated to have dropped from over 50 percent (according to a 1932 census) to about 40 percent.

Over the last few years, the de facto governing power in Lebanon has become Hezbollah, the radical and heavily-armed Shiite movement sponsored by Iran. With all of the spillover violence and instability produced by the Syrian civil war, and Hezbollah’s open involvement in it, and/or the next war that Hezbollah decides to start with Israel, the emigration of Christians out of Lebanon will probably only increase in the coming years, leaving those who stay increasingly vulnerable.

In Syria, 2.5 million Christians comprised about 10 percent of the population and enjoyed some protection under the secular and often brutal regimes of the Assad dynasty.

But as jihadi groups fighting Assad extend their territorial control, the past protection of Christians is often the cause of their current persecution by resentful Sunnis who revile the Assad regime and seek to impose Sharia law wherever they can. Christians have been regularly targeted and killed by rebels, and the sectarian chaos and violence that will likely prevail in Assad’s wake will only increase the number of Christians fleeing Syria.

In Iraq, the bloody aftermath of the 2003 invasion demonstrated how dangerous life can become for a Christian minority when a multicultural society in the Middle East explodes into sectarian violence. By 2008, half of the 800,000 Iraqi Christians were estimated to have left, rendering those remaining even more insecure.

In 2010, Salafist extremists attacked a Baghdad church during Sunday Mass, killing or wounding nearly the whole congregation. Such incidents turn any communal gathering into a potential massacre, forcing Christians across the Middle East to ask the ultimate question of faith: ‘Am I prepared to die for Christian worship?’

The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ threatens to exacerbate matters in much of the Middle East, as Islamists now either control the government or influence it enough to persecute Christians with impunity. As new Islamist regimes in the Middle East condone religious intolerance and introduce Sharia and blasphemy laws, the long-term trend for Christians in their ancestral lands will only grow bleaker.

The one bright spot is the state of Israel – ‘the only place in the Middle East [where] Christians are really safe,’ according to the Vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad, Canon Andrew White. Home to Christianity’s holiest sites and to a colorful array of Christian denominations, Israel has the only growing Christian community in the Middle East.

Because Israel is the only non-Muslim state in all of the Middle East and North Africa, it represents a small victory for religious minorities in the region, and serves as the last protector of freedom and security for Jews, Christians, Bahai, Druze, and others. Without Israel, how much more vulnerable would Christians in the Middle East become?” Source – The Commentator.

  1. habakkuksaidso
    08/10/2013 at 12:30 PM

    I would like to here stories about Christians fighting back and winning. And if there not fighting back then start.

    We need a retribution task force black ops style. We need a non muslim president that will create a task force and maybe call their operations operation crusade.

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    • ICA
      08/13/2013 at 3:15 PM

      We should leave those things up to law enforcement, be they police or military. Individually, however, it is a different matter. Romans 12:17-21, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

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  2. habakkuksaidso
    08/10/2013 at 12:31 PM

    What are we doing about this outrages demonic activity? What!!!!!

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  3. Vivienne Leijonhufvud
    08/10/2013 at 2:51 PM

    I’m with Habakkuksai, we really must see these people as demonic.

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  4. 08/12/2013 at 5:01 PM

    Bible prophecy tells us what will happen as we near the end of days:

    – Daniel 7:25 (NASB) 25 “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.”
    – Revelation 13:7 (NASB) 7 “It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him..”

    The article also states that Christians are only “safe” in Israel: that is like saying someone is safe while walking across a frozen lake, all the while ground temperatures are rising. Its only a matter of time before safety results in death. Again, the Word of prophecy:

    – Revelation 11:1-2 (NASB) 1 “Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2 “Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.”
    – Ezekiel 38:8-9 (NASB) 8 “After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them. 9 “You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.”

    What do we do about what is happening? Warn the church. Many in the church are oblivious to everything that is happening and will happen; and, as we approach the end of days, the difficulty of the days will bring in the fulfillment of other prophecies, specifically the apostasy of 2 Thess 2:3. The good news is that those true believers who do not convert to the religion of the beast (Islam) will either be raptured or martyred for their faith. Rev 6:11, Rev 7:13-14.

    Blessings.

    Jack Smith

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    • 08/13/2013 at 10:42 AM

      I go to an evangelical church, one that is actively reaching out to the lost with the good news. It has a christian school (where my 3 kids attended). It is working together with other like-minded congregations in town.

      After I finished “Mideast Beast” by Joel Richardson I gave it to our lead pastor. About 6 months later he returned it to me, unread. I guess I could make a lunch appointment with him. But unless these warnings are coming from the “the top” there is very little influence someone like me has on others, except one-on-one.

      Sometimes I’ll share with someone this view of how the end times will go down, but its not something most people are focused on or even have the ability to process. Most christians aren’t focused on it, or believe that we’ll be whisked away before anything bad happens and so it doesn’t matter anyway.

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  5. ICA
    08/13/2013 at 3:12 PM

    Sometimes it seems like something major will need to happen directly against Christians in the Western church before they begin to wake up. Right now, too many are in a comfy coma.

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  6. 08/13/2013 at 3:39 PM

    I think the jury is still out on whether “the beast” will dominate and control the whole world (prior to the return of Christ) to the point he is doing so today in the Middle East and other Muslim countries. These are the stakes we are battling for–will there be opposition to this system, based on a biblical understanding, or at least constitutional understandings with biblical underpinnings, or will we just roll over as a people and bow the knee to the prince of this world?

    I’m not sure what “something major … against Christians in the Western church” is–certainly 9-11 has had the opposite effect–we see more vocal Muslims here, Hollywood and the liberal media decrying “Islamophobia”, vast persecution of Christians in the ME, the Arab Spring… Perhaps you mean directly against Christians specifically and not just American/western society as a whole. I pray that’s not the case, that our eyes are opened/hearts awakened before that happens.

    And while I know this will gall many, the whole false “Left Behind” notion of the end times has inoculated millions of believers–they will be “raptured” before any of the really bad stuff starts; why rock the boat? Far be it from God to allow his people to go through tribulation…

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  7. 08/13/2013 at 5:51 PM

    Kurt J – My Director of Missions (whose role is to support the pastors in the churches in his state association) would not read my book or even discuss it w me. He told me that he had Muslim friends who were nothing like the “terrorists” and that Islam was a religion of peace. He agreed that Allah and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not the same, but that was as far as he would go. I have pastor friends who feel the same way, many of whom have been friends of mine for some time. Bottom line — it is politically correct from a spiritual perspective to define “love your enemiies” as meaning “love your Muslims,” even to the point of spiritual blindness of Islam’s fulfillment of Bible prophecies. Don’t misunderstand my thoughst here — the gospel is for the Mulsim as much as for any unbeliever and it is my intent to share it as God gives me the opporutnity. However, I suppose that if you don’t read what is out there about Islam (as your minister chose to), you can pull the ignorance card and blame God for not telling you when it all begins to happen. I can only imagine God’s response when the spiritual leaders of His kingdom pull that card out.

    Jesus come quickly.
    Jack

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    • Mike
      08/14/2013 at 7:52 AM

      Jack Smith you said… ” it is politically correct from a spiritual perspective to define “love your enemies” as meaning “love your Muslims,” even to the point of spiritual blindness of Islam’s fulfillment of Bible prophecies. ”

      I agree. I’ve had a dialogue with an Adventist missionary who in the name of “Christian love” practices the Chrislam heresy and elements of the Insider Movement C5, which compromises the Gospel to Muslims. Lately I called him out publicly for claiming that the Bible contains a history of Islam leading to Muhammad being a prophet of God.

      His responses are Muslim responses. Defense of Islam, defense of Muhammad, then denial, then personal attacks leading to withdrawal from the discussion and then deleting the discussion from public view. He is an example of how Muhammad’s narcissism can affect even those who claim they are Christian, to the point where even political correctness can find a justification in “Christian love” and then finding fulfillment in actually protecting Muhammad and Islam….which is what Muhammad wanted all along. More than that, I think it is an example of the spiritual aspect of the evil of Islam coming to bear against a person (or people) who is not spiritually prepared to confront the deception of Islam, which is just about everybody.

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  8. Mike
    08/13/2013 at 10:04 PM

    ICA, I agree with the word of God as you quoted it

    Romans 12:17-21, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. …”

    However, is defending one’s religious freedom evil? How about defending one’s life and the life and freedom of one’s family and culture? Are we supposed to, in the interest of not upsetting the Islamic apple cart, accept dhimmitude?

    ICA you said here “We should leave those things up to law enforcement, be they police or military”

    What if the police are also Muslim or intimidated by Muslims? In the USA, Dearbornistan is a good example of that. In parts of the UK, Australia, and other places, now there are Muslim “No-Go” zones. Not even the police venture into those areas. Justice cannot extend to those areas as long as the police are intimidated or afraid of being portrayed as “islamophobic” or “discriminatory” against Muslims. The trend of contemporary events in communities with vocal or militant Muslim minorities, is that it is becoming increasingly out of control. Muslims are achieving their goal of world domination, once cultural and legal concession at a time.

    (Rom 12:20) “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”

    Are we to give food and water to our enemy just before they rape our daughters and murder entire families? Or after? Or do we give food and water to our enemy after we have captured them and brought them into submission?

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  9. ICA
    08/13/2013 at 11:20 PM

    Mike, “is defending one’s religious freedom evil?”

    Depends how one chooses to personally defend it. If we were to defend it with bombs and bullets, then yes, that would be evil. The ends do not justify the means and vengeance is not ours to take. It is God’s. If we defend it with the Word of God and sound reason by shining the light of Truth upon the kingdom of darkness, then no it is not.

    Mike, “How about defending one’s life and the life and freedom of one’s family and culture?”

    Defending one’s life and family from an imminent threat is one thing. We are justified to use the force we deem necessary to protect our lives and the lives of our loved ones from an imminent treat. But, like above, we must not seek to avenge the evil done against us by seeking a personal vendetta against Muslims in general. Our battle is not against flesh and blood …

    Mike, “Are we supposed to, in the interest of not upsetting the Islamic apple cart, accept dhimmitude?”

    No, we should reject dhimmitude. But we must be wise about how we go about doing it. Exposing evil will obviously upset those who love it, but if we let the light of Truth shine through us as we are called to do, then this light will always expose the evil that lurks in darkness.

    Mike, “What if the police are also Muslim or intimidated by Muslims? In the USA, Dearbornistan is a good example of that.”

    Then we are on the road of desolation.

    Mike, “In parts of the UK, Australia, and other places, now there are Muslim “No-Go” zones. Not even the police venture into those areas.”

    The West is reaping what it has sown. Until the brightness of Christ’s coming destroys Islam forever, our light must continue to expose the unrighteous works of darkness (Eph 5:11).

    Mike, “Are we to give food and water to our enemy just before they rape our daughters and murder entire families?”

    Do we know that this person is planning to definitely do what you described shortly? If we know, then no. We are justified to use the force we deem necessary to protect our lives and the lives of our loved ones from an imminent treat.

    Mike, “Or after?”

    If they are sorry for what they did and seek forgiveness, then we are obligated to forgive. If we cannot forgive them for the sins they’ve committed against us, then why should God forgive the sins we’ve committed against Him?

    Mike, “Or do we give food and water to our enemy after we have captured them and brought them into submission?”

    We should meet their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs. Islam is a disease. Christ is the cure. Give them the milk of truth to drink, and spiritual meat to eat.

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  10. Mike
    08/14/2013 at 1:27 AM

    ICA, you said “If we were to defend it with bombs and bullets, then yes, that would be evil.”

    I just don’t see how self-defense is the equivalent to “vengeance”, or that self-defense is evil. I’m one of those Christians who agree with Just War Theory. I think standing against evil, even militarily, is not an evil act. If it was, then why would a Christian even voluntarily join a military?

    I agree. Christians are not called to exact vengeance. I am not called to do that. We are called to, among other things, forgive and share the Gospel that saves, a message of reconciliation.

    However, there is 1400 years of history showing that the spread of Islam brings the removal of inalienable freedoms, and with their removal, the inability to defend the innocent against abuses and atrocities. I believe believers have a responsibility to defend freedom from oppression. For example, to protect our homes from criminal invasion.

    Exodus 22:2 : “If the thief is caught while breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there will be no blood guiltiness on his account.”

    To protect the innocent.

    Deut. 19:10 , “So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and blood guiltiness be on you.”

    As you well know, there have been in the last 1400 years, around 270 million untimely deaths on account of Muhammad’s cult of Islam, many of them innocent victims.

    As far as the non-physical war, I agree, it is a war in the immaterial realm, and Christians already have the upper hand. Genuine Christians are seated with Christ (Eph 2:6). The term “seated” is a depiction of spiritual authority, as when a king sits down at his throne, then everyone else may take their seats, always below him. Thus, our Lord Jesus was given all authority according to Matt 28:18 and Christians are seated with Him in spiritual authority in order to destroy.

    (2Co 10:5) ….speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

    ICA you said here “We should meet their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs. Islam is a disease. Christ is the cure. Give them the milk of truth to drink, and spiritual meat to eat.”

    I agree completely. However, we need to be alive in order to do that. This would seem to get us back to the justifiable self-defense issue (not vengeance), or “Just War Theory”. This will probably begin to be more of a hot topic as events continue to unfold and Christians are faced with this issue.

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