Tags: Pope Francis | Religion | pope francis | middle east | christians | persecution

Pope Francis Visits Mideast as Christians Face Persecution

Image: Pope Francis Visits Mideast as Christians Face Persecution
Pope Francis (Photo by Maurizio Brambatti/ANSA via AP)

By    |   Thursday, 27 Apr 2017 04:16 PM

Pope Francis will visit Cairo on Friday, but Christians in the Middle East face political repression and violence as the visit marks the first by a pontiff to the city in 17 years.

"Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world are disappearing in the very lands where their faith was born and first took root," concluded a report by the Center for American Progress on the plight of Christians in the Middle East, The Los Angeles Times reports.

For instance, Coptic Christians have been run from their homes in Egypt, while Assyrians in Iraq have been displaced amid violent attacks by Islamic State terrorists.

In the West Bank, Iran and Lebanon, Christians live with the realities of being continuously under guard. In addition, countries like Saudi Arabia make it very difficult for Christians to openly practice their faiths.

"They want to make us all refugees," Tawfiq Abosh Jabu Sakar, 67, told the Times. His home in Iraq was destroyed last year by ISIS.

Iraqi forces freed the area last fall — and Sakar returned two months ago.

"Christian people have a right to stay here," he told the Times. "Those who love the area will return and give their soul to protect it."

According to the report, the Middle East-North Africa area has the highest concentration of Muslims of any region of the world: 93 percent of its more than 340 million residents.

ISIS "destroyed everything," Sakar said. "But I still have hope."

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Pope Francis will visit Cairo on Friday, but Christians in the Middle East face political repression and violence as the visit marks the first by a pontiff to the city in 17 years.
pope francis, middle east, christians, persecution
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2017-16-27
Thursday, 27 Apr 2017 04:16 PM
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