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The Last Christmas in Muslim Middle East?

Militant Islam is wiping out Christianity in the Muslim Middle East, according to a new study by the British think tank Civitas.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/24/2012, 5:02 PM

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood at Friday prayers
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood at Friday prayers
Reuters

Militant Islam is wiping out Christianity in the Muslim Middle East, according to a new study by the British think tank Civitas.

“Christianity is in serious danger of being wiped out in its biblical heartlands because of Islamic oppression,” wrote the report’s author, journalist Rupert Shortt. 

Israel, the only country in the region where Jews, Muslim and Christians are free to practice their religion, was not covered in the report. Israel opened up churches and other holy sites to Christians in Judea and Samaria and all of Jerusalem after Jordan fled the areas in the Six-Day War in 1967. Jordan prohibited Christians from visiting the site during its occupation of the area form 1947 to 1967.

Since the rise of the Islamic Hamas movement, Christians have been on the run in Israel, but mainstream media have tried to blame Israel for the diminishing Christian community, particular in Bethlehem.

Violence against Christians by Muslims in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, outside of Israel, has been ignored by “blind” politicians, largely because it is politically incorrect to criticize Muslims and then risk being accused of “racism.”

The refusal of young Christians in the West to become “radicalized” and mount violent protests against the attacks on their faith also helps to explain the “blind spot” about “Christianophobia” in influential liberal Western circles, wrote Shortt.

He traced the rise of Christianophobia in Egypt to the early 1970s when the quadrupling of oil prices gave Saudi Arabian religious extremists the material means to export their intolerant views around the world.

Civitas stated that “Shortt illustrated the mounting hostility to Christians by quoting the Salafist website ‘Guardians of the Faith’, which published an article saying 'Being a Muslim girl whose role models are the wives of the Prophet, who were required to wear the hijab, is better than being a Christian girl, whose role models are whores.'"

Converts to Christianity often are killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran, the report said and converts who remain alive may be subjected to heavy legal punishment.

One of the worst offenders of activity against Christians is the non-Muslim country of China, but a Chinese government official has charged that the United States and other Western nations “deliberately export Christianity to China and carry out all kinds of illegal evangelistic activities” with the aim of using the religion “to change the character of the regime...in China and overturn it.”

But Muslim countries are the most widespread offenders of freedom of religion, and Civitas estimates that between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left the region or have been killed in the past century.