Plight of Christians in the Middle East

This is an archive post—  I wrote it a few years ago. Found it in an old notebook. Recent news of an unknown number of Christians held hostage by ISIL, makes this post relevant in 2015.  

Commentary and fact based article about the plight of Christians in the Middle East, and its diminishing population because of a mass exodus; and even more important the mass killings of Christians in the Middle East.

Let me give you a very brief background on the history of Christians and Muslims in the Middle East, and then I will give some commentary of the plight of Christians in the region:  Christianity was brought to Egypt in the 1st Century by Saint Mark and rapidly spread throughout the country eventually becoming the dominate religion.  Christianity came about in Egypt by peaceful means and remained the dominate religion until about 641 A.D when Arab armies invaded and enforced Islam on its population. I use Egypt as the example here because it is the largest Arab country and one of the most populated in the world.

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Eventually Islam became the dominate religion and Sharia was enforced on all those who lived under the Caliphate, therefore Christians were considered Dhimmi. Dhimmi are “people of the book” or other non-Muslim religions that live under Sharia law and have fewer legal and social rights than Muslims.

The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam

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There are people who argue that the Dhimmi system is a tolerant way for Muslims to deal with the people who refuse to convert and remain within whatever religion they are in.  This is not the case, Dhimmi are excluded from politics, persecuted, and degraded for being non-Muslims aka Infidels.  This system is used to this day in Egypt in an informal manner, and as a result the Christian population is the largest religious minority with about 6 million Christians in a country of more than 64 million people.

As recently as this past Christmas Eve more than 20 Coptic Christians were killed and more than 100 were wounded while leaving a worship service by a cowardly suicide bomber, simply for being Christian.  The term wounded does not merit the extent of some of the injuries.  For example at this suicide bombing brain trauma, blown off extremities, and permanent blindness is what wounded means when you hear it on the news.

The 2011 Alexandria Bombing

Therefore scores of people are affected for the remainder of their life and many will never live the life the had before they were victims of this terrorist act.  Each event like this that occurs where dozens of people are killed at one time for being Christian adds up and eventually call for people to start questioning the future of Christians in the Middle East also known as the birth place of Christianity. The history of  Christians in Iraq is a lot more complicated because of the recent events that led up to the destabilization of the country, therefore I will focus more on history within the past decade.  Egypt has also been under constant rule of Islam for centuries which creates a completely different environment.  However it is still the same story, Christians are being targeted and killed for simply being Christian.  The infamous bullet in an envelope left on Christian door steps in Fallujah or the even more direct threat; grenades being lobbed into windows of random Christian homes.  These are all tactics used by Muslim Extremist to scare the Christian minority into leaving the country.

In 2004 before the Second Battle of Fallujah it was reported that a group of extremist had threatened to kill all Christians in the city.  Thousands of people took this threat seriously and fled the area to avoid what had already happened to many of their friends, family, and neighbors. Even more recently, in November of 2010 Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the massacre that took place inside Our Lady of Deliverance Church while 120 people worshiped. 52 Iraqis were killed by Al Qaeda operatives armed with hand grenades, fully automatic assault rifles, and suicide vests (a staple of Al Qaeda and its affiliates).

The militants made it a point to execute the two Priest and kill as many of his followers when Iraqi Security Forces stormed the church they also set off their suicide vest after lobbing grenades into the crowd of innocent men, women, and children. Protestors in Egypt The Middle East is no stranger to conflict, and maybe that is the reason or more accurately, maybe that is the excuse for the lack of reporting on the treatment of Christians in the region.  The past seven years or so could be considered by all accounts a terrifying period to be a Christian in the Middle East.  From Baghdad, Iraq to Alexandria, Egypt Christians have fled by the tens of thousands to seek safety from mass killings and relentless attacks from Islamist extremist like Al-Qaeda or The Muslim Brotherhood which is based out of Egypt.

It is clear that the intentions of groups like Al Qaeda who are fervent Muslims want the complete extermination of Christians in the region if they are not willing to convert to Islam. Another thought that came to mind is how little publicity this gets compared to other events.  For example, one Pastor of a Church in Florida said he would burn a Koran.  This literally sparked world wide controversy and all the news outlets saturated the airwaves with the story.  However when hundreds of Christians are actively being exterminated from an entire region or forced to leave it is extremely difficult to even find a story on google.

The plight of Christians in the Middle East is still to be determined and will effect not just the region but will have an affect on the entire world.  This article is not an attack on Anyone’s faith or belief system, it is an attempt to educate all people, American, Christians, Muslims, secularist, or atheist. It’s important to know what’s going on in the world and why. It’s about gaining knowledge of the “other” and learning about what’s happening to our fellow humans in other parts of the world.  

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