.........according to a study published by UK-based think tank Civitas on December 23. Rupert Shortt writes that “there is now a serious risk that Christianity will disappear from its biblical heartlands.”
”It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree,” he said. “A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.”
Pope Benedict xvi also drew attention to this in his Christmas Eve address. Benedict called on Catholics to pray that “Christians in those lands where our faith was born may be able to continue living there.”
Shortt’s study charts the treatment of Christians in several nations across the Middle East and Asia. While Christian persecution is a problem in all the countries he examined, he concluded that “the lion’s share of their problems arise in Muslim-majority societies.”
He warns that “the early 21st century has seen a steady rise in the strife endured by Christians.” Half to two thirds of all Christians in the Middle East have been killed or forced to leave, he writes. One of the most dramatic drops in number comes from Iraq. In 1990 there were 1.2 to 1.4 million Christians. By the start of the second Gulf war, that number had plummeted to 500,000 fewer. Now there are under 200,000.
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