October 29, 2010

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Christian Exodus from Middle East Continues Over seven years have passed since President Bush declared victory in Iraq, and two months have now gone by since Obama declared that same conflict to be over, but for Christians in the Middle East, such talk of victory is hollow. For centuries, Christians living under Muslim domination have endured cycles of persecution and tolerance, but now an virtually unprecedented exodus of Christians from the region is underway. According to an article by Robert Fisk for The Independent, nations where long-suffering Christians have managed to survive intimidation and periodic persecution at the hands of Muslim authorities are witnessing the flight of large portions of their Christian population. In Fisk’s words: Across the Middle East, it is the same story of despairing — sometimes frightened — Christian minorities, and of an exodus that reaches almost Biblical proportions. Almost half of Iraq’s Christians have fled their country since the first Gulf War in 1991, most of them after the 2004 invasion — a weird tribute to the self-proclaimed Christian faith of the two Bush presidents who went to war with Iraq — and stand now at 550,000, scarcely 3 per cent of the population. More than half of Lebanon’s Christians now live outside their country. Once a majority, the nation’s one and a half million Christians, most of them Maronite Catholics, comprise perhaps 35 per cent of the Lebanese. Egypt’s Coptic Christians — there are at most around eight million — now represent less than 10 per cent of the population.

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