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On the Edge of Extinction

Thank you for the important, insightful, and pertinent article by Philip Jenkins. “On the Edge of Extinction” is a call to take the long view yet to examine present persecution seriously.

However, I was dismayed by the timeline that put the Crusades on the same line as the US military and government. Radical Islamists believe that the West/United States/Christians are out to destroy Islam and to retake the Middle East in a replay of the Crusades. The timeline also seems to say that the US military is a Christian army.

We must remember that our ultimate Commander in Chief would have responded to 9/11 with, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Let us not implicate the Lord in the actions or agenda of the US military and government.

Patricia M. Lelvis
Gig Harbor, Washington

As one deeply grieved over the decline of Christian populations in the Middle East (where I spent 30 years of my life), I appreciate Jenkins’s article.

He is right: Christians in Arab countries understand how this could happen quickly. But the disappearance of Jews is not a strong example. The establishment of the state of Israel, accompanied by a flood of Palestinians into other Arab countries, created a double pressure on the Jews of the Middle East. The animosity against Israel in these countries easily translated into animosity toward local Jews, and the presence of Israel as an inviting option created a pull in that direction.

I have never heard that Jews were expelled by militias or beheaded if they refused to convert. Their exodus from Lebanon was not complete until the violence of Lebanon’s long civil war, which also created an exodus of Lebanon’s ...

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January/February 2015

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