Christian Persecution in the Middle East

It’s estimated that nearly 7,100 Christians around the world died because of their faith in 2015 alone. Violence in the Middle East is especially bad.


Research has shown that Christians are the most persecuted religious group worldwide. In countries such as North Korea, China, Russia, and Iraq (just to name a few), Christians are imprisoned simply for having “problematic” beliefs. For those who proselytize, the consequences can be even greater. This is the sad reality of being a minority faith group in countries that lack freedom of religion.

Recently, a group of Christian scholars decided to tackle the issue from a fresh angle. The group wanted to study how Christian communities respond to this widespread oppression. How are they dealing with it? This idea quickly grew into a collaborative global research project, which they titled “’Under Caesar’s Sword”. The project focused on the methods that Christian communities used when their religious freedom was threatened and/or violated.

Astounding Violence

In a notorious incident back in February 2015, 21 men, most of whom were Coptic Christians, were marched onto a Libyan beach and beheaded by members of the Islamic State. Images of the horrific crime helped to spark awareness surrounding Christian persecution.

Open Doors, a Christian non-profit, estimates that nearly 7,100 Christians died because of their faith in 2015 alone. But this number doesn’t take into account incidents of general hostility, intimidation or non-fatal violence felt by Christians. And it’s not just hate groups committing these crimes – government authorities are known to participate as well.Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS in Libya

Three Types of Responses

“Under Caesar’s Sword” found that Christians generally respond to persecution in three different ways:

  • Survival – 43 percent
  • Association – 38 percent
  • Confrontation – 19 percent

Survival strategies involve, well, surviving.  Although many people consider survival strategies to be the least proactive, if you would otherwise be killed for your beliefs it may be the only option. Survival in just an environment demands tremendous creativity and cunning. Survivalists generally do not directly confront the oppression, but simply attempt to adapt and blend into their surroundings. One example given in the report: Christians in Iran will keep their religion secret and instead pose as Muslims when going out in public.

Association strategies are those in which Christians create relationships with other groups and build community ties. One popular method is providing social services. Many Christian organizations go into an oppressive country and help the less fortunate, building goodwill among the people. In turn, the government allows these groups certain freedoms because the services they provide are so valuable.

Confrontation strategies are the least common, but they are the most dramatic. It should be noted, confrontation does not necessarily mean taking up arms. The report explains that a more common approach is publicly demonstrating against any human rights abuses. However, this is a high-risk strategy; many demonstrators are martyred or imprisoned for their actions.

A graph of most persecuted religionsOvercoming Hate

“Under Caesar’s Sword” illustrates while persecution comes in different forms, so too do the strategies for dealing with it. The report shows something else, too: people don’t give up. They might stay in hiding, or carry out their resistance in secret, but resist they will. The power of religious expression endures. Even in the face of great danger, people will stand by what they believe in.

What About Persecution of Muslims?

While it received plenty of acclaim, the project has been criticized by some as misleading. Many other faiths also face oppression, and yet researchers chose to only focus on Christians. While violence against Christians is certainly a problem, other religious groups are also affected – chief among them Muslims. Incidents of religious violence in Muslim countries is often devastating, marked by suicide bombings and other barbaric acts.

Furthermore, they point out, oppression takes many forms. For example, in the United States, Muslims are frequently discriminated against, attacked with lewd language, and targeted in hate crimes. Living in an environment of constant prejudice takes its toll – this fact shouldn’t be glossed over, say critics.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on these issues. What is your reaction to the report? Do we need to pay more attention to Muslim persecution?

 

5 comments

  1. Dr. James Swienty DD R.T. (ARRT) says:

    As Christians we need to pay more attention to Muslim persecution and ALL other persecution that is taking place on this planet. This is what GOD taught us to do. Christians and all other peoples should be concerned with getting themselves ready to belong to the family of GOD. This is what Christians should be teaching all others. At this time in Earth’s history there should be nothing on the mind of a true Christian but to get themselves ready to be placed with the family of GOD when that glorious time comes along and, with getting others to be doing the same thing. As I have said many times before, the time for using words is coming to its end. People have got to start to listen to the truth. When they hear the truth they will know what they are hearing from that person is true if they are humble and what to change their lives to be in the family of GOD ALMIGHTY.

  2. Marius Gabriel Burja says:

    First of all no faith system should persecute any other faith system. Second if one does then that is evil and should be illegal. End of story. I want to cut the heads off off those who cut heads off the innocent. Because they denied the holy spirit of peace and life of those they killed unjustified.

    There is no way that I will ever forgive anyone who kills innocent people unless it is an accident. What isis and isil is doing is not forgivable. God avenges his righteous through us and the law of the land.

    If a nation does not serve God then it should not be a nation. In my Heavenly Fathers house there are many mansions. None are allowed to slaughter human life. God is the one who decides and he gave Jesus Christ power of Dominion.

    This means we are to judge them by the book. They are guilty not just by the Dominating Book The Bible but they are guilty by all the faith books.

    They have turned back to the times of Noah. Now it is time to burn and flood them.

    Good ridden isis and isil ROT IN HELL FIRE WITH DEATH FROM ABOVE FROM MY ANGELS.

    I don’t have time to teach you faith and belief Joseph. I am taking over the world. You will see the beautiful white robe you gave me and I will enjoy it as I will stain it with the blood of those who spilled my saints blood.

    Their blood is on the hands of the demonic murderers. Now the blood of isis and isil belongs to the rest of the living Christian saints.

    It is mine and I will take it. I will bathe in it. Isis is dead so is isil. SO BE IT.

  3. Joseph E Knopick says:

    From the Sermon on the Mount: St. Matthew 5:10-16 ESV

    10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    13“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

    14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Citation: The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.

    The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.

  4. Frank Villari says:

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a socialist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
    because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me –
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.
    — Martin Niemöller

  5. Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr. and Priscilla the Chastity that is a female archangel in my soul. says:

    Also,the whole world is filled with animalistic men that are very bad and make separations according to Jude 17,18,19,

    To all the people.
    To all the tribes.
    To all the nations.
    To all the tongues.

    Read our lips! Babylon the great has fallen! She is the mother of harlots!
    There will be no more Christianity in U.S.A.! They are all in Babylon the great says the Word of God in Revelation. Amen. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses are all in organized crimes.And mostly all the elders(ministers) and women that are Jehovah’s Witnesses are dogs(Revelation 22:15)that are called male and female prostitutes in The Word of God. Amen. -Also read (Revelation 21:8).

    http://www.thespiritualrhymingshow.info
    shop.thespiritualrhymingshow.info
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    Created by me,Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr.,and created by me,Priscilla the Chastity,so poetic in May 12,2017 at 12:11 PM.

    Work Number-1(202)321-2748 – I am a Republican that voted for Donald J. Trump.Born a black U.S. American citizen in Brooklyn, New York in 1973.
    Active fictitious name is Archbishop Rev.Dr.Yanel Jay Laroche (R.D.) The Rock Doctor that is still married to Priscilla the female archangel in my soul and also in the same soul of Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr. and Priscilla the Chastity.

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