As most of you know, there has been ongoing, armed conflict in the Middle East, especially in Syria and northern Iraq, for at least five years (not counting the activities in which the U.S. has been involved). Occasionally, the reports of that conflict includes the Christians who are indigenous to the area, as in this recent story from FoxNews.
Now, on reading it, you might be thinking a couple of things: 1) “There are indigenous Christians in the Middle East?!?” And 2) “There are Middle Eastern Christians in the US?!?” The answer to both questions, of course, is “yes,” and I’ve got some resources that can help you learn more about the situation there. First, if you want a sense of the country-by-country picture in the Middle East, then you can check out this primer from the BBC; granted, it’s a few years old, and so with the situation as it is, the numbers have probably dwindled, as the link associated with the image below suggests. But still, the resource is good. Also, if you want more information about the various groups involved, this link from the OrthodoxWiki is a good beginning, and of course you can go from there as you desire.
As far as Middle Eastern Christians in the United States go, the situation is rather diverse. Not surprisingly, there are high concentrations of Middle Eastern Christians in places where there are a lot of people of Middle Eastern descent. It may surprise you, though, that the place with the strongest concentration is Dearborn, Michigan. But, as discussed in the article, California is another hot spot, as are major metropolitan areas like Chicago, New York, etc. That said, there are whole swaths of the country with no Middle Eastern Christians at all — so if you’re thinking, “I don’t know any folks of this description,” well, you’re not alone. But you can learn, right?
And never forget — you can Google. Search for the different groups named in the links above. Don’t start with what others say about them — read what they say about themselves. You won’t regret it; these are vibrant communities with a strong sense of their own heritage and, often, their own history.
Image credit: www.pravmir.com
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