America’s wars in the Middle East have resulted in the widespread persecution of Christians in the region. When George W. Bush called America’s response to September 11 a crusade, this revived memories of medieval invasions.
Islamic nations are the main persecutors, but some regions in India have also joined in.
This strategy has limits in this era of digital communications. People can read literature that promotes controversial ideas of all kinds. Christianity historically is a text-based religion more than most. Attempts to suppress it will fail. But these attempts create terrible problems in the meantime for Christians whose churches have existed in the Middle East for many centuries.
A report published in the British Telegraph has been picked up by other sites. Sadly, the organization that prepared the report, Civitas, has no American website. A search for www.civitas.org does not connect with a server. The article did not identify the organization’s location or provide a link to the report, which is a major lapse in online reporting.
I tracked down the report. It is here. The site is www.civitas.org.uk. Here, we read this:
A glance at the position on several continents confirms the picture. In the large area between Morocco and Pakistan, for example, there is scarcely a country in which church life operates without restrictions. Syria has been one of the exceptions until now. As I write, however, the country is enduring full-scale civil war, and tens of thousands of Christians have been ousted from places including Homs and Qusayr. The prognosis for the rest of the Middle East is hardly encouraging: there is now a serious risk that Christianity will disappear from its biblical heartlands. Anthony O’Mahony of Heythrop College, London, echoes other scholars in estimating that between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the region have left or been killed over the past century. Comparable tragedies have unfolded elsewhere.
The report’s author, Rupert Shortt, has written a book on this: Christianophobia. It has received some reviews. On Amazon, it is listed, but there is not one word on it. I have never seen an Amazon book in print with less information. The publisher is asleep at the wheel.