By MENA Program Coordinator
11/30/2022 country (International Christian Concern) – According to a report released by Aid to the Church in Need, many countries that have experienced persecution in the Middle East have worsened over the past two years. This is resulting in many Christian communities migrating outside their home country, which is threatening the survival of some of the world’s oldest Christian communities. Open doors also release a similar report annually called the World Watch List which details the countries with the worst forms of persecution.
According to Aid to the Church in Need, there has been an increase in persecution trends in Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar; meanwhile places like Iran, Egypt, and Israel/Palestine have seen no improvement in their conditions. These trends include church attacks/closures, arrest without trial, kidnappings, and Christians being killed for their faith. While Iraq has seen improvement in their human rights circumstances, after the religious genocide that occurred from ISIS, the Christian population has reduced by half, leaving the remaining population at risk for extinction. Open Doors speaks about similar trends and further mentions imprisonments in countries such as Iran.
ICC released a report entitled “2022 Persecutor of the Year Award” which further details similar trends in the Middle East. The report highlights Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, as the individual persecutor of the year. “He controls every aspect of Iranian life and uses harsh tactics to restrict Christians… [he] allows the torture and execution of many Iranian Christians. Those found attempting to share their faith or worship in a house church are often arrested and sent to the notorious Evin Prison, known for its brutality and torture of prisoners.” Meanwhile in Iraq the report notes the notorious IRGC group that “supports the Popular Mobilization Forces of Iraq, a group of Shia militias first formed to fight ISIS that now persecute Christians in the areas they now control” It further notes that other regional trends include forms of indirect persecution such as education discrimination, job discrimination, denial of rights, and legal restrictions. These are not included in the other reports and can easily add to the increased persecution trends in these countries. ICC has been reporting on many of these issues for years, and it comes to no surprise to see how these trends are increasing in recent years.
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