Christians Face Extinction Where Christmas Began
Two thousand years later, the few remaining Christian communities in the Middle East find themselves on the brink of extinction. Many have fled in the face of uncertainty, violence, and persecution.
Per The Hill:
The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, recently wrote of the plight of Christians in the Middle East, stating: “Many have left. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes.” He warned that “across the region Christian communities that were the foundation of the universal Church now face the threat of imminent extinction.” I am sorry to say the archbishop is not overstating the dire nature of the plight faced by Christian communities throughout the region.
Lebanon, the last safe home to Christians in the Middle East, has generously welcomed a great number of Syrians fleeing their country's civil war. A nation of 4 million people is hosting an estimated 2 million refugees and displaced people, the highest per-capita home to refugees in the world. This population increase has presented legitimate challenges to Lebanon’s infrastructure, economy and education system. After seven years of conflict in Syria, with no end in sight, more children are born in Lebanon to displaced people and refugees than to Lebanese citizens.
Lebanon’s delicate, pluralistic balance of power between faith groups could be toppled in a complete redrawing of the demographic map. The lack of a roadmap for charting the safe return of refugees and displaced people to Syria is not providing a viable future for these victims.
In northern Iraq’s former breadbasket, the Nineveh Plains, the ancient Christian and Yazidi communities are slowly returning and rebuilding their homes, but they are a skeleton of what they once were. The Christian population of Iraq has dropped from 1.5 million before 2003 to less than 250,000 today. Those who remain are in a struggle to keep their culture and heritage alive in a place where their families have celebrated Christmas since the time of Christ.
Egypt's Coptic Christian Church remains a prime target for terrorists.
Meanwhile, another year has come with the United States still not officially acknowledging Turkey's role in the Armenian genocide, while the Erdoğan regime continues to harass and arrest Christians.