Media coverage of Christian persecution in the Middle East was once all but non-existent. (A representative headline on this website last year declared, “The world’s most ancient Christian communities are being destroyed — and no one cares.”) And while awareness of this troubling topic hasn’t quite reached Biblical proportions yet, it’s certainly increasing. CBS’s 60 Minutes devoted several segments to the matter, National Geographic gave it a large spread in their magazine, and most recently, Newsweek devoted their cover story to “the new exodus” of Christians from the Middle East.
The persecution of Christians in the Middle East is a real problem that deserves real attention. Attacks on churches, forced conversions, and executions — including the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya — have provoked international outcry. Though reports on Iraq vary wildly, it seems that 90 percent of the country’s Assyrian-Christians have fled or died since WWII, and as a result of al Qaeda and ISIS, Assyrian-Christians have been reduced to 1 percent or less of the general population. All this caused the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to declare the flight of Christians from the region “unprecedented.”