Christian persecution heralds end of Arab secularism says historian

Historian and author William Dalrymple says the death of Arab secularism is on the horizon as Christians are persecuted and pushed out of the Middle East with the past decade deemed especially ‘catastrophic’ for believers.

Some 12 million Christians in the region face persecution through Islamic fundamentalism, according to the well-known writer in a newspaper article for The Guardian, with killings of Coptic Christians and church burnings in Egypt; a mass emigration of Palestinian believers caught up in the Gaza conflict; and the rape and murder of Syrian Christians, who used to be 10 per cent of that country’s population.

Isis, the newly emerged Islamic militant group has caused many of the latest problems especially in Syria, as above, and Iraq. However some two thirds of Christians had already fled Iraq since the demise of Saddam Hussein due to persecution.

‘Almost everywhere Arab Christians are leaving’, says William Dalrymple, who added that ‘certainly since the 19th century Christian Arabs have played a vital role in defining a secular Arab cultural identity.

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