Westminster think tank Civitas is warning that Christianity is in serious danger of being wiped out in its biblical heartlands.
Christians living in the region where the faith was born are coming
under increasing threat from Islamic oppression, the think tank says in a
Civitas says Western politicians and media are ignoring the
widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East and the wider
world because they are afraid they will be accused of racism.
The report, Christianophobia, says that Christians are more likely to
be the target of discrimination or persecution that any other religious
group and warns that they are particularly at risk in Muslim-dominated
The difficulties have been made worse by anti-Americanism and the
false belief that Christianity is a “Western” creed, despite having its
origins in the Middle East.
The report’s author, journalist Rupert Shortt, estimates that in the
last century, between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle
East have left the region or been killed.
Christians are particularly at risk from militant Islam in Egypt,
Iraq and Syria. Muslim-majority countries are generally most hostile to
Christians, the report finds, and account for 12 of the 20 countries
described as “unfree”.
In Iraq, the Christian population has fallen from between 1.2 and 1.4
million in 1990 to around 200,000 today as a result of bombings,
killings and kidnappings, especially since the 2003 invasion.
Worldwide, an estimated 200 million Christians are facing social discrimination, harassment or overt oppression for their faith.
Mr Shortt notes that more Christians are imprisoned in China than any other country in the world.
“Exposing and combating the problem ought in my view to be political
priorities across large areas of the world. That this is not the case
tells us much about a questionable hierarchy of victimhood,” he says. “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.”