Middle Eastern Church leaders are to urge the Christians of the Middle East including ones living in Palestine not to flee from their homelands amid increasing persecution. The Church leaders will meet beside the Dead Sea, as they will try to urge the native Christians to stay back and persist with their faith amid severe persecution.
While remarking in this respect, spokesman for the Middle East Council of Churches Father Issa Misleh, from Jerusalem’s Orthodox Church said that in case Christians would evacuate Middle East, the outlook if the region will be ominous. “This would be the end of the Palestinian cause.” During the eleventh session of the Middle East Council of Churches it is expected that a message of staying back will be disseminated.
According to an estimate about 40,000 Christians are left amidst 4.5 million people still living in the Palestinian Territories. Elsewhere in the Middle East, number of Christian population has dropped incredibly since the rise of terror group Islamic State- the new era is marked by appalling executions, crucifixions, physical tortures, brutal rapes and various other forms of atrocities against Christians and other minorities.
In the wake of escalating situation, a Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors says: “Christians are squeezed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, their ethnicity causing many restrictions from the Israeli side and their religion putting them in a minority position within the Palestinian community. The territories are effectively under different governments.
“The West Bank’s ruling Fatah party is formally based on secular principles, and Christians enjoy several rights. Though Christians are largely tolerated by Islamist Hamas, the rights of Christians are neither upheld nor protected in Gaza. Apart from this discrimination, Christians face threats from radical Islamic vigilante groups. The total number of Christians has been decreasing in both areas over time due to emigration and lower birth rates. A ray of hope is the small but growing number of converts from Islam to Christianity.”