K4D Helpdesk Report 042

The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East

Published on 16 February 2017

The tremendous changes in the political order in the Middle East since 2003, and the rise of violent extremist ideologies, have adversely impacted on Muslim- Christian relations and on the protection of Christian and other minority groups. While the overall situation of Christians in the Middle East is grim, their status and circumstances vary considerably across the region – with a stronger sense of protection and security for Christians in Egypt and Lebanon, for example, than in Iraq and Syria.

This report explores various forms of persecution and discrimination that Christians experience in the Middle East. Much of the literature focuses on Egypt, Iraq and Syria, with some discussion of the situation in Iran and Saudi Arabia. This report reflects this country focus. There is very little discussion in the literature about current responses, apart from criticisms that responses have been absent and that Christian communities have not received adequate attention. Some argue, however, that Christian communities should not be singled out and that highlighting their plight over that of other persecuted minorities could exacerbate sectarian divisions in the region.

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Haider, H. (2017). The persecution of Christians in the Middle East. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

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Institute of Development Studies
Huma Haider


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