In recent decades, a handful of countries in the Middle East have witnessed radicalism raising its ugly head in a bid to undermine interfaith peace. Wherever those radicals managed to get in control, religious minorities, including Christians, became victims.
A vivid example of this notion is Iraq, where 1.5 million Christians lived under the regime of Saddam Hussein. However, once this country and the region as a whole got overrun by radical extremist forces, they started persecuting Christians, and as a result the population of the latter decreased tenfold! There are almost no Christians left in Libya, and Christians in Egypt went through some truly tough times under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood (banned in the Russian Federation), as churches got burnt and priest suffered frequent assaults. That is why most Christians were forced to flee the country. There’s reports of torture and murder of Christians that come from other regions of the world — Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. In Kosovo religious shrines would be repeatedly desecrated, many churches are now all but destroyed, and Christians can no longer visit the graves of their relatives and pray to God in their ancestral land.
However, the region where Christians are still oppressed the most is the Middle East. The events that took place in Syria became the source of the deepest concern of the entire Christian world, as Syria is the cradle of Christianity. It was here at the onset of Anno Domini that the first Christian communities were built and the term “Christians” was used for the first time. Christians were the native population of this country, and they’ve been thriving in Syria for twenty centuries straight.
When Islam came to Syria, Christians and Muslims learned to live peacefully side-by-side for centuries, until very recently. In fact, Syria has always been a vivid example of interreligious harmony for the rest of the world.
However, in the last two decades, this interreligious balance has been disrupted by the radical fanatics of Al-Qada and Daesh (both terrorist groups that are banned in the Russian Federation). In those regions of Syria where radical forces managed to take power into their hands, Christians became their first victims, Christian churches would be destroyed and desecrated, and many priests would be killed or abducted.