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2 - On the Brink of Extinction

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 continued existence of Christianity in Iraq and Syria hangs by a thread. Since 2003, sectarian violence and civil war have fueled a deadly cauldron of death, suffering, intolerance, and extremism which have decimated Christian and other religious and ethnic minorities. This chapter explores how Christians have responded to persecution and anarchy. Though a few have taken up arms to defend themselves, the vast majority have not. Some have accepted martyrdom, while huge numbers have felt they had no choice but to become refugees or internally displaced persons. Many are or are perceived to be allies of the brutal Assad regime in Syria, for the extremist Islamic alternatives are for them far worse. As ISIS is rolled back, Christians face the uneasy choice of whether to risk returning to their former destroyed homes and churches, knowing that extremism is not dead, and unsure of whether their homes will be rebuilt and security established. The disappearance of Christians from Iraq and Syria would be a tragedy for them, but it would also be a lethal blow to the Muslim-majority in these countries, because monochrome societies are inherently unstable and invariably a danger to their neighbors.
Type
Chapter
Information
Under Caesar's Sword
How Christians Respond to Persecution
, pp. 30 - 69
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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