Washington, D.C. — Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world have been steadily disappearing from the Middle East over the past decades. Christians have been subjected to institutional discrimination, forced out of their homes through civil wars, and become the victims of terrorism throughout the region. A new report from the Center for American Progress offers an overview of of the status of Christians in the Middle East and suggests practical and effective ways for the United States to engage.
It is estimated that Christian communities make up less than 5 percent of the overall Middle East population. Due to a decade of forced migration and growth of Christians living in exile, their total population ranges between 7.5 million and 15 million. Many of them suffer violence, discrimination, and general unrest as their numbers dwindle along with their influence in the region.
“The picture painted by our research is grim,” said Brian Katulis, CAP Senior Fellow and lead author of the report. “The past century has seen a steady decline of Christian communities in this incredibly important region, which does not bode well for the overall tolerance and pluralism that has been the goal of the United States in the region for decades. The United States has an opportunity to improve the lives of Middle East Christians by ensuring that American policymakers have the tools they need to effectively promote freedom of religion and build partnerships with key actors in the region.”
A few of the recommendations made in the report include:
- Expand the tools and resources available to U.S. policymakers to elevate freedom of religion and conscience as a priority in U.S. engagement in the region.
- Build stronger and more diverse networks and partnerships with the private sector and nongovernmental institutions to address the current challenges facing Christians.
- Work with international organizations and leading churches to preserve Christian heritage and sites throughout the region.
Click here to read the report.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.481.7141.