48. Will the Middle East be free of Christianity?

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The article describes the decline of Christians relative to members of other faiths in the Middle East, developing the argument that it is part of a larger trend, and suggesting that Christians may all but vanish from the region.

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Reviewed by: El Torjoman International
The author points out the decline of Christianity in the Middle East, suggesting that it may disappear one day.
He explains that the region was the cradle of the three monotheistic religions, whose followers coexisted peacefully.
Most people in the region are Muslims, but Christianity has preserved its significant stature throughout the last century, although this might change in the third millennium.
The author presents statistics concerning the numbers of Christians in the Middle East. In Turkey, the number of Christians decreased from 2 million to 80,000. In Iran, the number has decreased from 300,000 to 100,000 people, while in Syria the percentage went down from one third of the population to only 10 percent. In Lebanon, the percentage went down from 55 percent to 30 percent, while in Palestine the decrease was from 20 percent to 10 percent.
As for Egypt, Christians are leaving the country in huge numbers for the first time since the 1950s, at present only constituting 7 percent of 72 million people, according to 2006 statistics.
In Jordan, the number is quickly decreasing, with Christians being 4 percent of a 5.5 million population.
According to 1987 figures, the number of Iraqi Christians decreased to 1,250,000 people, then to 700,000 following the American invasion. They now make up only 3 percent of the population.
Diyāb mentions that the continuous decrease will cause Christians to lose their political influence.
He ascribes this decrease to the failure of development projects and the dominant feeling that it is worthless to stay in the region.
Moreover, conditions in the Middle East even prompt Muslims to leave due to the continuous struggles and wars over the past half a century, starting in 1948, then the declaration of Israel’s statehood, and finally, the attacks of September 11, 2001.
On the other hand, the West attracts immigrants because of the prevailing economic development and civil and social liberties. In this respect, Christian immigrants are attracted from everywhere to travel abroad.
Finally, Diyāb explains that the growing absence of Christianity will deprive the region of its civilizational development and to undermine one of the bridges between the region and the West.
Also, the Middle East will become a desert on which Muslims and Christians will struggle, the newspaper goes on to say, while Israel will exploit the conflict to revitalize its functional role in the region in order to receive support from the West.

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