Middle Eastern Christians are on the brink of “imminent extinction,” the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph ahead of a Westminster Abbey service to celebrate the contribution of Christians in the region, he said Christians face a “daily threat of murder.”
In the last few years, he said, they have been slaughtered by Islamic State, and in many countries they are squeezed between the upper and lower millstones of pressure within society and of conflicts that afflict the region.
Many have left, he said. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes. Many have been killed, enslaved, persecuted, or forcibly converted.
In Iraq there are now less half the number of Christians there compared to 2003. Many of their churches, houses, and businesses have been damaged or destroyed. The Syrian Christian population has decreased by half since 2010.
Welby said we should not ask Syrian Christians to choose between President Assad, “under whom they were tolerated,” and “the unimaginable horrors and threats of so-called Islamic State.”