The Synod of Bishops for the Middle East -- meeting in Vatican City this week -- has been called together to address the drastic decline of Christians in the Muslim world in recent years. But just why has there been such a large decrease of Christians in the Middle East?
Christians in the Middle East are a minority in a Muslim region. Even the more moderate Muslim countries -- such as Egypt -- marginalize Christians and deprive them of basic civil rights, according to the Persecution website.
The rising tide of Islamization has made it more dangerous than ever to be a non-Muslim in a Muslim country, in ways that range from everyday discrimination to terrorist attacks.
The root of this problem lies in Sharia -- that is, Islamic law -- which treats non-Muslims and all women as second-class citizens. Consequently, it is very difficult to change this Islamic religious and legal tradition, which has become more assertive and violent in recent years, primarily due to Muslim extremists.