2012-03-26 10:02:00

About 15 mln Christians live in the Middle East, their number reduces - expert

Moscow, March 26, Interfax -About 25% of Middle Easterners were Christians in the early 20th century, but today their number equals to 5% (about 15 mln, mostly Egyptian Copts), president of the Middle East Institute Yevgeny Satanovsky says.

"Nowadays, relative number of Copts has twice decreased if compared to the 1970s. It makes about 8 million of people and decreases dramatically," Satanovsky writes in his article published by the Moskovskiye Novosti.

Since early 2011, before parliamentary elections when Muslim Brothers and Salafi won absolute majority of votes, their number decreased for 100 thousands of people considering growing emigration. Death of Copt Church Shenuda III will inevitably speed up the process, the expert believes.

According to him, interconfessional relations in the region were "an absolute catastrophe" all through the 20th century and the only part of the world where Christians can feel more or less well at ease is Israel and Shiite Iran.

The political expert said there were about 1,5 mln Christians in Iran in 1987, their number reduced to 850 thsd in 2003 and not more than 400 thsd in 2012. One third of Syrian population were Christians in the early 20th century, today they make less than 10%. Christians made 55% of population in Lebanon, their number fell down to 30% in 2012. The relative number of Christians has 10% reduced in Jordan for the last hundred years.