The Christian presence in the Middle East is ebbing away

Jan 5, 2022 by

by James Bradshaw, MercatorNet:

Janine di Giovanni’s The Vanishing: Faith, Loss, and the Twilight of Christianity in the Land of the Prophets was published late last year.

An Italian-American Catholic journalist with vast experience covering the Middle East, Di Giovanni began this work while trying to understand how Christians had survived for so long.

Seeing how their struggle had intensified recently, and how whole communities were vanishing after a 2,000-year presence, her work took on a new meaning as she sought “to record for history people whose villages, cultures, and ethos would perhaps not be standing in one hundred years’ time.”

The fruits of this labour have helped to form a highly accessible introduction to a tragedy which has been unfolding for decades.

The Vanishing focuses on four places where Christians are under extreme pressure: Iraq, Gaza, Syria and Egypt.

In both Iraq and Syria, Christians (usually Eastern Rite Catholics or Orthodox, along with smaller denominations) have come under assault as the regimes of authoritarian rulers have collapsed.

Though a Sunni Muslim, the dictator Saddam Hussein protected Iraq’s Christians. While the 80s and 90s brought challenges due to the military conflicts Hussein embroiled his nation in, nothing compared to the violence following the US-led invasion in 2003.

Seeing the beleaguered Christian minority as an easy target, Al-Qaeda affiliates waged war against them with regular attacks on churches, including the killing of 58 people at Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad in 2010.

After this initial devastation, in 2014, the Islamic State group captured much of Iraq’s ancient Christian heartland – murdering, enslaving and deporting thousands of Christians before leaving their homes and churches in ruins.

Read here

See also:

Arab Islamists, not Orthodox Jews, Pose Biggest Threat to Middle East Christians, by David W Virtue, Virtueonline

The Holy Land’s Forgotten Few, by Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

Does the Archbishop of Canterbury Have an Israel Problem? by Elliott Abrams, The Bulwark



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