Christians in the Middle East face extinction because of genocide, wars and international indifference to their plight, according to panelists at an interfaith forum in New York.
A concerted multilateral effort to establish a safe haven for them while rebuilding their devastated homelands is preferable to massive permanent resettlement to other countries, including the United States, they said.
Twelve speakers at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture event explored ‘The Crisis for Christians in the Middle East’, with a particular focus on vulnerable Christian minorities in Syria and Iraq.
Christians formed the majority in the Middle East until the Crusades in the 12th-14th centuries, but “the past thousand years haven’t been good in many ways,” said Jack Tannous, assistant professor of history at Princeton University.
Tremendous violence perpetrated against Christians led to widespread conversion, he said, and long periods of stasis have been punctuated by large-scale persecution and followed by immigration.
As a result, many Christians were effectively exterminated from the lands where they lived for centuries, said Michael Reynolds, associate professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University.
Picture: Men walk in rubble near St Mary’s Catholic Church and St Elias Orthodox Church after a bombing in Damascus, Syria, on 13th November. Christians in the Middle East face extinction because of genocide, wars and international indifference to their plight, said speakers at a panel discussion in New York on 5th December. (CNS photo/Mohammed Badra, EPA).