The last few weeks have seen an escalation in violence against Christians in Egypt
Just how large those numbers are, however, is a matter of educated conjecture, according to a new report on Christian migration from the Middle East.
A precise accounting is impossible, but report author Markus Tozman says seeking accuracy is important because the fate of the Christian population in the Middle East affects human rights in the region, as well as power structures across the Arab world.
“The real number of Christians in the Middle East is highly contested and part of an ongoing debate. It fluctuates depending on the group presenting the numbers and therefore on the intentions of the respective group,” the report says.
Tozman is a graduate student of the Middle East at Johns Hopkins University, and former assistant to Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, a member of The Netherlands parliament whose portfolio at the Council of Europe includes minority protection in the Middle East. Tozman is a contributing author to a 2012 book documenting the gradual disappearance of Syriac Orthodox Christians from their native Turkey.
The report is published by the World Watch List, a research group that issues an annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians are under the most pressure for their faith. The World Watch List is a unit of Open Doors International, a global non-profit organisation that provides support to pressured Christians.