Middle East Christians facing 'extremist atrocities'

Monday, June 20, 2011

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News' Correspondent

LONDON, ENGLAND (Worthy News)-- The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, warned that the vacuum left by failed autocratic regimes was being filled by extremists who have turned the Arab Spring into a "very anxious time" for Christians.

Williams said there had been more killings of Christians and burnings of churches in Egypt than most were aware of, that life was becoming impossible for Christians in northern Iraq and that tensions were severly strained between Christians and Muslims in Syria.

"It is a fairly consistent pattern over a number of months," he said. "Although at leadership level in the Muslim community in Egypt there is clear condemnation of this, it's evident that there are other forces at work which of course may not be native Egyptian."

Williams suggested that these foreign forces entered Egypt from Saudi Arabia and northern Sudan.

Williams compared the violence against Christians in northern Iraq to ethnic cleansing.

"The level of violence has been extreme," he said. "More and more there is the talk of an 'enclave solution' to the problem in Iraq: that is a sort of safe territory for Christians, which Christians and their leaders don't particularly want, but many would think is the only practical outcome now."

Even in Syria, where Christians and Muslims had long lived together peacefully, tensions were building to the breaking point, said Williams, while in Bethlehem -- the birthplace of Jesus Christ -- Christians who were formerly in the majority were now a "marginalized minority".

Read more about the Christian Persecution in the Middle East