Religion: Fear in The First Churches

Christianity may be headed for extinction in the lands of its birth

An Arab Christian woman living outside Bethlehem did not dare make Easter eggs this year. Reason: "Our Muslim brothers consider any signs of celebration a violation of the intifadeh." In West Beirut some churches canceled Palm Sunday processions through Muslim streets or shifted Easter midnight Mass to 3:30 p.m. so that worshipers could be home by nightfall. "How can we celebrate Easter?" asks a refugee from inter-Christian fighting. "We have never been this low."

Such Holy Week tribulations underscored the long-range fears of many Middle Eastern Christians that their religion may be headed for eventual extinction in the very lands that...

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