What is it about?

Most people have heard about how Christians keep leaving the Middle East because of problems there, including persecution from violent groups such as ISIS. What might be surprising is that some Middle Eastern church leaders don't want them to leave. The author of this article has done interviews with some of these leaders who say it's easier to be a good Christian in the Middle East.

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Why is it important?

While scholarship has documented the emigration of Christians from the Middle East fairly extensively, and migration among churches is increasingly studied, this article takes the unusual approach of talking to a church where people are leaving. I found church leaders in one of the poorest countries of the Middle East explaining their spiritual reasons for asking impoverished refugees not to leave for the US.

Perspectives

So many people think the Middle East is full of unsolvable problems, and as a foreign visitor, I struggled to see how some of these refugees could have a future there. But the church leaders I interviewed were both realistic about the struggles while still hopeful and committed to their churches' life and witness in the Middle East. It was fascinating to see people who had workable solutions in progress for some of these problems. I found their commitment to both their faith and their homeland inspiring.

Lucy Schouten
University of Edinburgh

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This page is a summary of: Why Church Leaders Discourage Christians from Leaving Jordan: An Anti-Emigration Perspective, Exchange, November 2020, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/1572543x-12341573.
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