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Christian exodus from the Middle East

Exile was the theme of this year’s Bible Society Magi Initiative. And for some church leaders from the Middle East who came to Cambridge for the conference, exile has been a daily reality. 

They included leaders from Iraq, Lebanon and Syria; leaders from different denominations, united in finding themselves strangers in their own lands or another, as a result of conflict and upheaval. 

‘Since 2003 a million Christians have left Iraq,’ Archbishop Habib Nawfaly told delegates. 

‘More than 90 per cent of Christians have left Iraq and almost 50 per cent of Christians in Syria have left the country,’ added Bishop Jack Yaacoub. And Lebanon, he warned, could be next. 

‘The existential threat Christians are facing in the birthplace of Christianity is real. Persecution has spread everywhere in the Middle East, but those cries have not been heard,’ he added. ‘What we have faced as Christians is nothing short of genocide.’ 

Bishop Jack called for the commitment of the Christian family worldwide to act on behalf of persecuted Christians, ‘We want to remain in our homelands,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to leave.’ 

Author: Bible Society, 18 May 2022

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