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Christianity in the Middle East faces extinction, says Government minister

Lady Warsi has warned of growing persecution in the region

Christianity in the Middle East faces extinction, a Government minister has warned, with a mass exodus taking place on a “Biblical scale”.

Lady Warsi was to make the warning at a speech at Georgetown University in Washington today, following recent attacks on Christians in Syria, Egypt and Pakistan, where 85 churchgoers were massacres in Peshawar in September.

Lady Warsi wrote in the Daily Telegraph that “There are parts of the world today where to be a Christian is to put your life in danger,” she wrote. “From continent to continent, Christians are facing discrimination, ostracism, torture, even murder, simply for the faith they follow.

“Christian populations are plummeting and the religion is being driven out of some of its historic heartlands. In Iraq, the Christian community has fallen from 1.2m in 1990 to 200,000 today. In Syria, the horrific bloodshed has masked the haemorrhaging of its Christian population.”

Earlier this week, while leading Westminster Hall Adjournment Debate on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Conservative MP Fiona Bruce MP highlighted increasing reports of “extreme persecution”, and said: “We should be crying out with the same abhorrence and horror that we feel about the atrocities towards Jews on Kristallnacht and on other occasions during the Second World War.”

And on the Radio 4 Today programme, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said it was “probably true” that Christianity was facing extinction in the Middle East.

He also urged the west not to support regimes that were “intolerant”.

He said: “There are real challenges for Christians in this part of the world to support and get alongside them, and also for politicians to understand that the presence of Christians is a great mediating factor often, for example, between different sections of Islam.”

“It is a mix that has lasted for a 1,000 years and no Western Government should promote a course of action in the Middle East which would end with a new government that was intolerant to its historical neighbours and colleagues within a territory.”