The number of Christians who live in the area where their religion began is in decline. Growing numbers of Christians are leaving the lands where their religion began. Their reasons are different; varying sometimes by sect, sometimes by nationality–but the change is unmistakable. A hundred years ago, Christians made up 25 percent of the population in the Middle East. Today, estimates put that number at about six percent and falling. Call it part of a modern mass departure, the steady flight of the tiny Palestinian Christian minority that could lead, some predict, to the faith being virtually extinct in its birthplace within several generations. The protection of Christians in Islamic-majority countries is one of the most delicate problems facing the Church. So question is Vatican’s top foreign policy official are listening about this “particularly unhappy” situation of the decline of Christians in the Middle East?
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — The death threat came on simple white fliers blowing down the streets at dawn. A group calling itself “Friends of Muhammad” accused a local Palestinian Christian of selling mobile phones carrying offensive sketches of the Muslim prophet.
While neighbors defended the merchant – saying the charges in the flier were bogus – the frightened phone dealer went into hiding, feeling less than satisfied with authorities’ conclusion that the Oct. 19 note was probably a harmless rant.