Christians have become nearly extinct in the Middle East, the land where the religion began 2,000 years ago and flourished until the rise of Islam.
According to The Hill, the Christian population in the Middle East has dwindled down to dangerous levels, which only worsened during the reign of ISIS. In 2003, the Christian population of Iraq stood at 1.5 million; today, it has dropped to less than 250,000.
“The Christian population of Iraq has dropped from 1.5 million before 2003 to less than 250,000 today,” reports The Hill. “Those who remain are in a struggle to keep their culture and heritage alive in a place where their families have celebrated Christmas since the time of Christ.”
To help the Christians in Iraq in line with Vice President Mike Pence’s promise, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed more than $300 million in aid for religious minorities.
“USAID Administrator Mark Green went personally to the region to conduct a needs assessment and appointed special representative Max Primorac to directly oversee the implementation of U.S.-funded programs,” reports The Hill. “Green deserves credit for managing the difficult deliverance of aid in a complex sectarian environment.”
Egypt, Christians have increasingly faced intense persecution. In 2017 alone, 128 Coptic Christians were killed for their faith as their churches were bombed and homes desecrated. As a result, Coptic Christians have fled the region in record numbers. The situation has become so dire that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has taken extra steps to stem the tide, which includes “prosecuting terrorists who have targeted them, rebuilding destroyed churches and appointing the first Coptic female governor of an Egyptian province.”
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