Christians in Lands across Middle East Face Uncertainty

(Telegraph-UK) - Richard Spencer, Samer al-Atrush, and Rob Crilly The region that was Christianity's birthplace is witnessing an unprecedented modern-day exodus. Bethlehem's resident Christians have dwindled from four-fifths of the population since the Second World War to just a quarter today. In the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, Christian shops have been firebombed. In Egypt, a string of businesses owned by Coptic Christians were burned down in riots in the southern province of Qena last month. "Copts are in a continuous state of fear," said the diocesan bishop, Anba Kirillos. In Iraq, as many 600,000 of its once million-strong Christian community have fled abroad since 2003, while hundreds of thousands more have moved to safer areas in the north, abandoning once thriving Christian communities in Mosul, Baghdad and Basra. Across the Middle East, a Christian population that stood at 20% a century ago has now sunk to under 5%.

2009-12-23 08:30:31

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