Most of the persecution Christians face occurs in predominantly Islamic nations, and the estimates are; as many as two-thirds of Middle East Christians “have left the region or been killed” in the past century. Persecution is reaching a fever pitch in places like Gaza, Iran, Egypt, Sudan and Syria. Its origin is the antichrist spirit spoken of in the last days prophecies, that will usher in the Antichrist, the Mahdi, the Islamic Messiah. Most Muslims believe his appearance is imminent. Take a look at the % of Muslims who expect Mahdi to return in their lifetime.
Persecution of Christians:
SYRIA: The 220,000 residents of Raqqa, Syria, didn’t know what to think when the black flag of the Islamic State (IS) went up over their city. Then the executions began. A young man accused of unspecified criminal activity was shot in the head, and his body was left in the public square for three days. Several others were crucified. Some had their heads cut off and placed on fence posts. There were many new rules to obey. No one seemed to know for sure which behaviours were now criminal offences. An eyewitness named Abu Ibrahim said, “People were frightened, which is what they [IS] wanted. They wanted everyone to be terrified of them.” The city’s three Christian churches were padlocked. Crosses and other Christian symbols were either destroyed or covered.
MOSUL: “Isis came in and they rounded up all of the Christians. Not some, all of them. And they killed huge numbers. They chopped the children in half. They chopped their heads off. It was just so terrible what happened.”
EGYPT: In Egypt, dozens of churches have been bombed or set ablaze by radical Muslims, most of them alleged members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt has the largest number of Christians of any Arab nation, with about 10 percent of its 95 million population said to be believers in Jesus Christ. Most of them are Copts (Coptic Orthodox), but there are also thousands of Roman Catholics, evangelicals and members of various denominations. Persecution is nothing new to Egypt’s Christians, but it grew in intensity when the Arab Spring brought down the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.
Do you suppose this was the work of Islamic extremists and that most Egyptians would be shocked by such a tragedy? Think again. In 2010, the Pew Research Center asked Egyptians whether they thought people who converted from Islam to Christianity should be executed. Eighty-four percent said they should be. That same year, a member of Egypt’s Ministry of Islamic Endowments appeared on state-run television and said he believed people who converted from Islam should be killed.