I have been reading the book, Christian Persecutions in the Middle East, A 21st Century Tragedy, by George Marlin, and am a bit overwhelmed.
The book starts with a short history of persecution of Christians in the Middle East and then walks through eight different countries, recounting the unfolding tragedy of our day. From economic subjugation to slavery to simple evil cloaked in Islamic robes this book will send chills down your spine. This is a concerted and planned campaign to rid the Middle East of the rich heritage of traditional Christians.
If you have tried to watch some of the atrocities committed by ISIS which are out on the Internet then you know just how sick and twisted these people are. What Marlin does in this text is much broader than ISIS. He also writes about the widespread government supported efforts persecuting Christians. Portions of the book are interview format with voices from the Middle East sharing their perspectives. Often, these interviews reveal frustration and astonishment that the broader global church has not acted in some way to protect or assist the Christians.
Some of the facts in the book are amazing:
- 200,000 Christians have left Egypt since 2011
- A decline in the Christian population of Lebanon from 84% in 1926 to less than 30% today
- Aleppo’s pre-war Christian population of 250,000 has dwindled to under 100,000
- Iraq’s Christian population is vanishing – we really don’t know how many are left
We as Evangelicals have been all too silent and I feel saddened and somewhat complicit of my ignorance of just how lacking our response has been. One reason for this is no doubt the nature of the churches involved: they are Catholic, Coptic and Orthodox (this is not always the case, of course, and Marlin does describe underground churches of Protestant background).
Shame on me if I have allowed that to diminish in any way my concern for my fellow man.