Christianity Disappearing in the Mideast? - Not So Fast!
Writing for Christianity Today (November 4, 2014) and discussing the extinction of Christianity in some of its homeland (currently controlled by the brutal, genocidal Islamic State), Philip Jenkins asks, "Is This the End for Mideast Christianity?" He says, "No," and explains himself:
[W]e are still witnessing a striking upsurge of Christian numbers in some of the most unlikely settings, almost entirely as a result of immigration. Look at Saudi Arabia, a land of 28 million people where Islam is the only permitted religion. Consequently, official sources list the country as 100 percent Muslim.Jenkins is perhaps too optimistic. Power rests with these states' Muslim rulers, and little would be needed to drive the powerless Christians out.
In reality, Saudi Arabia is only one of many Middle Eastern countries that have imported millions of poor foreigners to perform menial jobs over the years. Many of those immigrants are African and Asian Christians, including many Filipinos. As they do not officially exist as Christians, they have zero right to practice their faith, even in private. But exist they do. By some estimates, Saudi Arabia's Christian population is about 5 percent of the whole, perhaps 1.5 million people.
Other Gulf nations are more honest about just how religiously diverse they have become. Christians - mainly guest workers - probably make up 7 percent of the population of the United Arab Emirates, and 10 percent of Bahrain or Kuwait. Those are nations where Christianity scarcely existed 100 years ago.
Just look how quickly the Islamic State ridded itself of Christians, and recall that Saudi Arabia is just as Salafi as the Islamists conquering territory in Syria and Iraq.