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Persecuted Middle Eastern Christians fear being forgotten amid pandemic

Christians in the Middle East have suffered persecution for centuries but this persecution has increased dramatically in the last few years. Stephen Rasche, from the Counsel of the Chaldean Archdiocese in Erbil (Iraq) writes in his book "Disappearing People: The Tragic Fate of Christians in the Middle East", that the situation remains extremely sensitive for Middle Eastern Christians.


The book places a heavy focus on the Iraqi Christians who were driven out of their homes by ISIS and fled to Turkey, Lebanon, and other places. “I think the situation in Iraq is certainly more acute, simply because the numbers have been driven down so drastically,” Rasche explains.

He believes the Middle East is at a crossroads and that there are only two options for the future of the region’s Christians: a rebirth or death. “Either the Christians that are left there will experience a rebirth,” or “we’re looking at the end… Nothing left beside a museum caretaker-type people,” warns Rasche.

He urges Christians in the West to “pay attention” to what’s happening to Christ’s body in the Middle East.

“There’s a real fear amongst the Christians in Iraq that in the current their plight will be forgotten,” Rasche said, adding that “it’s easy” for the plight of persecuted Christians to “get lost” in the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“They really pray and hope people in the West and hope churches, in particular, will not forget them and hopefully this book can help keep that flame alive for them, Rasche added.

In terms of what governments can do, we have seen a real change in the last year with the Trump administration on how to deal with these displaced populations. There are a lot of positive things that have been happening in this last year, but it’s a big, big ship to turn around,” he concluded.


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