In the wake of the suicide bomb attack on the Coptic Christians in Egypt and the deadly October massacre at a Christian church in Iraq, Paul McGeough writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that Christians are rapidly leaving the Middle East altogether:
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…A century ago, they accounted for 20 per cent of the population in the Middle East – today the Vatican estimates that proportion to be 5 per cent and falling in a region in which most regimes impose limits and restrictions on Christian rituals.
Iran has recently been rounding up Christian missionaries and deadly Christian-Muslim violence has erupted again in Nigeria.
“If this phenomenon continues, Christianity in the Middle East will disappear,” the Reverend Khalil Samir, an Egyptian Jesuit in Beirut, told reporters on the eve of a Vatican conference that discussed the crisis last year. “This is not an unreal hypothesis – Turkey went from 20 per cent Christian in the early 20th century to 0.2 per cent now.