Even before ISIS launched its ultraviolent campaign targeting Iraqi Christians in the summer of 2014, Pope Francis proclaimed that the current wave of Christian persecution in the Middle East is worse than the suffering inflicted on believers in the centuries of the early Church. Since the Arab Spring and the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011, which have thrown the region into utter chaos, Muslim extremists have killed thousands of Christians every year and destroyed and desecrated countless churches. Christian communities in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt have been hardest hit.
In his new book, author and political commentator George J. Marlin, Chairman of Aid to the Church in Need-USA - an agency under the guidance of the Pope that supports the persecuted and suffering Church around the world - describes the sharp rise in Christian persecutions in the Middle East. After brief narratives on the rise of Christianity, Islam, and terrorism in the Middle East, Marlin documents, country by country, acts of twenty-first century Christian persecution which are nearing a bloody climax that could produce the unthinkable: a Middle East without Christians and the destruction of an ancient patrimony that has been a vital link to the very birth of Christianity.