A new book released by a British journalist warns that Christianity is in danger of being wiped out in the Middle East.
In Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack, Rupert Shortt asserts that over the past 100 years, half to two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have either been killed or have left their homeland for refuge.
According to a release from Shortt’s publisher, Civitas, the journalist examined seven countries that have been recognized as having a propensity to persecute Christians, whether through harassment, imprisonment or death: Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, Burma, China and India.
“Exposing and combating the problem ought in my view to be [among the] political priorities across large areas of the world. That this is not the case tells us much about a questionable hierarchy of victimhood,” Shortt writes. “The blind spot displayed by governments and other influential players is causing them to squander a broader opportunity. Religious freedom is the canary in the mine for human rights generally.”
He states that persecution began amping up in the 1970′s and has increased over the past 40 years. Shortt said that mistreatment of Christians has intensified especially in Islamic nations such as Egypt, Iraq and Syria. He reports that in 1990 there were between 1.2 to 1.4 million Christians living in Iraq, but by 2003, the number decreased to approximately half a million. In recent years, there remain an estimated less than 200,000.
Shortt also pointed to a quote from an article published by a Salafist group, which stated, “Being a Muslim girl whose role models are the wives of the prophet, who were required to wear the hijab, is better than being a Christian girl, whose role models are whores.”
Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack outlines that there is great persecution in non-Islamic nations as well, such as China. It asserts that more Christians are imprisoned in China than any other country in the world, noting that in 2004 alone, more than 200 Christians were arrested for being involved with house churches instead of a government-registered house of worship.
“[P]ublic security officials [in China] have the right to imprison people for up to three years without trial,” Short advises.
However, other persecution watch groups have also noted that North Korea is one of the most difficult places to live as a Christian.
Shortt says that worldwide an estimated 200 million Christians are being actively oppressed to some degree.
“Oppression is magnified by anti-Americanism and the false belief that Christianity is a ‘Western’ creed, even though it originated in the Middle East and has been an integral part of that region’s belief systems for 2000 years,” his publisher, Civitas, outlines.
It also states that the Western world often overlooks the plight of Christians in the Middle East and fails to report on the matter.
“Western politicians and media largely ignore the widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East and the wider world because they are afraid they will be accused of racism,” Civitas laments. “They fail to appreciate that in the defense of the wider concept of human rights, religious freedom is the ‘canary in the mine…’”
Photo: Andrew Dunn