Christians (in the Muslim world) in Crisis

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, writing in The Times of London during a four-day swing through the region, bemoaned the state of Christians in the Muslim world.

“Iraq’s Christian population is dropping by thousands every couple of months and some of their most effective leaders have been forced to emigrate. In Istanbul, the Orthodox population is a tiny remnant, and their patriarch is told by some of the Turkish press that it’s time he left. In Egypt, where Christian-Muslim relations have been – and still are – intimate and good, attacks on Christians are notably more frequent,” Williams wrote.

The Times separately quotes Canon Andrew White, president of the Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East and vicar of St. George’s Church in Baghdad:

“All my staff at the church have been killed,” he said. “They disappeared about a year ago and we never saw them again. Of the rest of my congregation, most say they have been targeted in some way or have had letters delivered with bullets inthem.”

That the situation is bad and worsening for Christians living in Muslim lands is not in dispute. Nor can anyone disagree with Williams’ cry not to ignore their plight. Yet Williams’ own conclusion seems to blame everyone but the most obvious culprit.

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