Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

A Report On Christians in the Middle East

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of the Barnabas Fund, writes: "Like other Bethlehem civilians, the Christians have been confined to their homes for days. They literally keep their heads down, not daring even to look out of the windows in case they are shot. They eat whatever they happen to have in the house. Water and electricity are now cut off in various areas. Some are injured and some are mourning for relatives who have been killedÉ ÔWe are praying for you,' I said on the phone over and over again yesterday. 'Thank you so much, that is what we need,' the Christian leaders would replyÉ A few miles away, across the River Jordan, Christian refugees are pouring into Jordan from Iraq. As US and British leaders discuss overthrowing Saddam Hussein and attacking Iraq, many Muslims across the world consider it a new crusade against Islam. Iraqi Christians fear terrible repercussions for themselvesÉ Other Iraqis will assume that Christian Iraqis side with the enemy, the 'Christian' West. Across the Arab world, there is a growing resentment of Israel and the West. This is producing a groundswell of anti-Jewish, anti-Western, anti-Christian feelings, which bodes ill for beleaguered Christian minorities in the Arab world. Most Christians in Bethlehem are now desperately poor, having lost their jobs in the tourist trade when the intifada began in September 2000. Iraqi Christians are also suffering terrible poverty, both in Iraq and in Jordan. The Barnabas Fund provides monthly gifts to enable the neediest Christian families to have food to survive. Gifts are channelled through local churches and Christian community groups to ensure that they reach those in greatest need." (From The Barnabas Fund Ð Crosswalk)

Feelings run deep for both the Muslim side and that of Israel, but what about the believers in Jesus Christ, of Arab or Jewish descent, who are caught in the middle?

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