A Danish journalist takes perilous excursions in the Middle East to assess the plight of Christians and finds them in a grievous state.
“Each uprising or war [in the region] has proven more damaging to Christians than to Muslims or Jews,” writes Wivel, who ends his text by referring to “several people who believe that Christians are the most persecuted group in the world.” To prove these enigmatic statements, the author presents his conversations with residents of the West Bank and Gaza, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq. Clearly, Palestinian Christians, infidels in Muslim lands, are in mortal danger. Hamas and Hezbollah threaten, though Wivel finds vague fault with Israel, the only place in the region where Christians are not persecuted. The United States and the Western press are not altogether blameless, either. In various selective interviews in selected venues, the author finds dismaying operations against Christian sects that have been resident in Muslim precincts for two millennia. These are not Western Christians. Rather, they share lifestyles and worldviews with neighbors who now threaten them. Militant Islamists have decreed that they must leave home with nothing, embrace Islam, or die. Indeed, though the numbers seem to be unsure, many have been killed because of their faith. Worst of all are the conditions in Iraq, though Hamas, Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Arabs, Muslims, and Christians are at each others’ throats throughout the region. (This report antedates recent activities of the Islamic State.) Throughout, Wivel “suspects” and has “the feeling” and “the sense” of the dangers to Christians in Arab lands, which makes some of his conclusions suspect. However, his intuitive narrative is a compelling story of the ethnic cleansing of Christian communities caught in the crossfire of the Middle East at war.
A flawed yet urgent and passionate epistle to the West to see an ongoing disaster.