Middle East Hemorrhaging Christians

From Christianity Today:

But we should be ... distressed about the decline story, especially that of Christianity in the Middle East. No one knows precisely how many of the Middle East's 293 million people are Christians, but nearly everyone acknowledges that Middle Eastern Christianity has been in steady decline for decades. In some local areas, officials record declines of 75 percent or more. Recent violence in the region is accelerating that decline. Some observers estimate that the region's population of 10 to 15 million Christians will continue to spiral downward during the next 50 years.

On paper, Egypt is the country with the greatest number of Christians—5.8 to 11 million, or 8 to 16 percent of Egypt's 75 million people. But despite their numbers, "Copts," as Egyptian Christians are known, have suffered from oppressive legal restrictions. Until very recently, permission to repair a church roof anywhere in Egypt could only be obtained from the president himself. Those few Muslims who wish to become Christians experience intense persecution. Many Christians in Egypt are seeking a new future in the West.

Until half a century ago, Lebanon was the only Middle Eastern country with a Christian majority. But because of immigration and higher birth rates among Muslims, Lebanon's Christian population has dwindled from around 58 percent at the outbreak of World War I in 1914, to an estimated 39 percent (1.4 million) today. So sensitive is the issue that the Lebanese government has not conducted an official census of religious affiliation since 1932. Lebanon's Christians, mostly Maronites (Eastern Rite Catholics), have been traumatized by the killings of Christian politicians and the work of the terrorist group Hezbollah, and have thus fled the country. ...

Abu Daoud says: Take it to the Lord in prayer. There are more Muslims converting than ever before, but it is not nearly enough to balance this Christian exodus from the MENA. Is God calling YOU to go to the Middle East or North Africa to support the Christian population and share the Gospel with Muslims? Ask yourself this question seriously. You are never too old or too young, never too educated or un-educated, too sick, too tired.


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