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5 - Christian Responses to Persecution in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2018

Daniel Philpott
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Timothy Samuel Shah
Affiliation:
Georgetown University, Washington DC
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Summary

The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are two geopolitical rivals who aspire to establish powerful theocratic regimes. Iran and Saudi Arabia are also ranked first and second worldwide in terms of their state-sponsorship of persecution against their Christian minority communities. This research explores some of the various ways that Christians in Iran and Saudi Arabia respond to persecution using various strategies for survival. Historical foundations for Christianity and practical contingencies in these distinct and idiosyncratic countries will be introduced. Each country has distinct contexts in terms of the persecution of Christianity. Saudi Arabia has a huge number of Christians residing in immigrant guest-working situations while only a handful of ethnic Saudis are Christians and then, often quite secretively. In contrast, Iran hosts large historic communities of Armenian and Assyrian Christians as well as Protestant, Anglican, and Catholic communities originating from missionary efforts and also some converts from Muslim backgrounds who often face the most strident opposition to their faith and efforts to evangelize others. In both countries, what emerges from this research is an inspiring picture of resilient communities of Christians refusing to resort to compromise or violence; remaining patriotic and loyal to the State while also endeavoring to bless their fellow-citizens in spite of  their various experiences of marginalization and persecution. 
Type
Chapter
Information
Under Caesar's Sword
How Christians Respond to Persecution
, pp. 130 - 161
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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