Why Christians Are Leaving the Middle East

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rt_iraqi_christian_100205_mn1.jpgChristians Are Abandoning a Region They’ve Lived in for Two Millenniums
By KRISTEN CHICK
cross the Middle East, where Christianity was born and its followers once made up a sizable portion of the population, Christians are now tiny minorities. Driven by different factors – the search for better opportunities abroad, their status as targets of Iraq’s sectarian conflict, a low birth rate, and discrimination – the trend largely holds true across a region where Christians have maintained a presence for two millenniums.
Why Christians are declining in Mideast
Iraqi Christians attend a mass during Christmas Eve at Christ church in Amman December 24, 2009…. Expand
Iraqi Christians attend a mass during Christmas Eve at Christ church in Amman December 24, 2009. Across the Middle East, where Christianity was born and its followers once made up a sizable portion of the population, Christians are now tiny minorities. Driven by different factors ? the search for better opportunities abroad, their status as targets of Iraq’s sectarian conflict, a low birth rate, and discrimination ? the trend largely holds true across a region where Christians have maintained a presence for two millenniums. Collapse
(Ali Jarekji/Reuters)

Where Are Christians Dwindling Most?

All around the region, Christians made up more than 20 percent of the population in the early 20th century; today, they make up less than 10 percent. Iraq has seen perhaps the most dramatic decline. Estimates of its Christian population at the time of the US-led invasion in 2003 ranged from 800,000 to 1.4 million – roughly 5 percent of the population. But targeted by killings, kidnappings, and threats, many fled – in far higher proportions than their Sunni and Shiite compatriots: an estimated 20 percent of Iraqi refugees abroad are Christians. Only an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 remain.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/christians-leaving-middle-east/story?id=9755895