by Dexter Van Zile
Hostility toward religious and ethnic minorities has been a persistent problem in the Muslim and Arab countries in the Middle East and has gotten worse after the Iranian revolution of 1979. Christians can sometimes rely on secular rulers such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and Bashar al-Assad to provide for their safety, but relying on dictatorial regimes has its risks. After the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003, violence against Christians in Iraq â€“ many of whom were Baathist supporters â€“ increased substantially.
With the murder of several dozen Christians in Iraq on Halloween and a surge of violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt, it has become clear that hostility toward Christians in the region has risen to a crescendo. In response, Christians from the Middle East are speaking out and journalists are starting to hear the story.
Below is a list of websites providing information about the mistreatment of Christians in the Middle East.
Voice of the Copts, (http://www.voiceofthecopts.org/). This organization has numerous articles and pictures (some graphic) of Muslim attacks on Christians in Egypt. The organization describes itself â€œas an open window on the Coptic culture, as well as a comprehensive source of information on the Copts’ suffering in their own land.â€ According to the organization’s website, speakers are available.
Barnabus Aid, (http://barnabasfund.org/). Like the other organizations listed, Barnabas Aid provides assistance to Christians suffering from persecution. The organizationâ€™s website also provides details on the latest emergencies facing Christians throughout the world with many happening in the Middle East.
Christian Solidarity International, (http://www.csi-int.org/). CSI fights against the persecution of Christians throughout the world. The organization invokes Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights which accords people the right of religious freedom. It pays close attention to the mistreatment and murder of Christians in Sudan, Iraq and Pakistan.
Open Doors, (http://www.opendoorsusa.org/). Open Doors draws attention to the persecution of Christians throughout the world. The organization maintains country profiles of the 50 worst offenders of Christian rights in the world. Many of the worst offenders are located in the Middle East.
Smyrna Ministries International, (www.smyrnaministries.org/). Smyrna Ministries devotes itself to to serving â€œthe Persecuted Church in the Islamic contextâ€ and to challeing Christians to â€œrespond to the plight of the Persecuted Church and the global advance of Islam. Smyrna provides information about ongoing acts of persecution here.
Voice of the Martyrs, (www.persecution.com). The Voice of the Martyrs deals with the persecution of Christians throughout the world, but the organization’s map of restricted countries reveals that much of its attention is directed at Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East. VOTM’s newsroom provides links to news articles detailing the mistreatment of Christians.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list. If there are other sources not included on this list that you believe should be, please submit the link here. This list will be updated with other links to reports and news articles.