A new report by Aid to the Church in Need says Christianity is quickly disappearing from entire regions around the world, including a huge chunk of the Middle East. They estimate that followers of Jesus could vanish from Iraq within 5 years.
The report released in the House of Lords last week says Christians are migrating away from areas in the Middle East and parts of Africa where, a generation ago, they were both numerous and influential.
The growing threat of militant Muslim groups ‘is a primary cause in the contraction of Christianity – changing from being a global faith into a regional one, with the faithful increasingly absent from ever-widening areas’.
The report claims the faith could be on course to disappear from Iraq within five years unless there is significant intervention. It adds that an exodus from other parts of the Middle East mean ‘the church is being silenced and driven out of its ancient biblical heartland’.
Christians remain a significant and largely stable presence in some parts of the biblical Middle East, most notably Israel and Jordan.
In Africa, the rise of militant Islamist groups in Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania ‘is clearly intended to intimidate Christians, destabilising their presence’, the report says. This on a continent that the report says ‘has until now been the church’s brightest hope for the future’.
In addition to militant Islamism, the report highlights that Christians also suffer when their faith is seen as a ‘colonial, corrupt and exploitative’ foreign import from the West, triggering suspicion from Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish nationalists.
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