But in the U.S., if you say that Muslims are persecuting Christians and being anything but tolerant, you will be smeared as a “racist” “Islamophobe.” It is increasingly clear that those who make such charges intend to clear away obstacles to this persecution. “Christians face being driven from the Middle East,” by Simon Kent for the Toronto Sun, June 9:
This could be the greatest story never told.
The Arab Spring has turned to bitter mid-winter for Christians across the Middle East.
Members of orthodox faiths are being driven from their biblical heartlands by hard line Muslim governments with no toleration of religious diversity.
All behind the increasingly opaque veil of chaos and civil war as the rest of the world looks the other way.
The exodus comes just 24-months into the biggest political upheaval in a generation, according to Father Peter-Michael Preble, an Orthodox priest with the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas.
He says Christians are the single most persecuted minority in countries including Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria Iraq, Iran and the Lebanon.
The Southbridge, Mass. priest points to the recent kidnapping of two prominent Orthodox bishops by rebel Syrian fighters as evidence of the bind Christians find themselves in.
“Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Boulos Yaziji were both taken after they were tried to negotiate the release of two other Orthodox priests being held for ransom,” Preble told the Toronto Sun.
“Sadly, they were also outspoken in highlighting the threat to religious tolerance from the conflict engulfing their country. “They were warning against a Christian holocaust.
“Look across the entire Middle East and you see flames and war with radical Islamists fighting either governments or each other with Christians in the crossfire.
“At the political level it is the Muslim Brotherhood making life very difficult for the faithful. Christians have made their lives in those countries for millennia yet now face the prospect of either being murdered or banished forever.”
Preble says the entire Judeo-Christian heritage that once underpinned the region is threatened with collapse.
A century ago, more than 20% of the region’s population was Christian and as recently as the 1980s, places like Lebanon had a Christian majority. Now, with Christian numbers fading, it’s split between brawling Shia Hezbollah and Sunni fanatics.
Estimates put the Christian population in the Middle East at under 5% and sinking rapidly “” and the figure only remains that high because of the Coptic Christians who remain, for now, in strife-torn Egypt.