That Jesus Christ’s two advents are set against the backdrop of a region rarely associated with good news is ironic, but this year that irony is less obvious. Good things are happening in the Near East if you know where to look.
The success of Prime Minister Najib Mikati in forming a government, where his predecessor-designate Saad Hariri had failed after trying for months to craft a political deal with Hezbollah, marks a clear tilt toward Damascus.
One adjective that should never be used to describe the US retreat from Afghanistan is “surprising.” In fact, what happened in Kabul in 2021 was the natural next step on the inward-turning path Americans began walking in 2009.
It is time for the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and the global religious freedom advocacy community to highlight the egregious religious freedom violations that result from Turkey’s restrictions on using the Kurdish language as part of religious services.
Militant groups like the Islamic State have long targeted Christian holy sites in the Middle East. According to Sara Savva, the destruction of sacred Christian sites in the region is “a loss for every single Christian around the world” and a “big loss for mankind.”
During an In Defense of Christians event, a diverse panel discussed Turkey’s current political, cultural, and religious environment, as well as potential policy options for the country to become more democratic and religiously rich.
While these reports are never perfect, their existence reflects how the US government is uniquely positioned to serve as a global leader in the promotion of human rights. USCIRF’s commissioners and staff deserve commendation for producing them.