November 13, 2022

How Christianity Might Adapt and Endure in the Middle East

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by Andrew Doran, Senior Research Fellow

If the presence of the faith in the Middle East survives, it will likely be thanks to visionaries from the region rather than to insipid onlookers from Washington.

Jerusalem’s Old City is divided among Muslims, Christians, and Jews — the spiritual descendants of Abraham. But the three faiths and communities intermingle throughout much of this ancient theopolis. Perhaps the most volatile stretch of Jerusalem is to be found in the Muslim Quarter, where the Via Dolorosa converges with El Wad Street, which leads to and from both al-Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall.

“A hundred yards of mayhem,” says a middle-aged English Catholic man residing in the Old City. The space between the Austrian Hospice and the Fifth Station of the Cross, where Simon of Cyrene carried the cross for Jesus, is an Abrahamic gauntlet that thousands run each day.

It’s not difficult to sort locals from pilgrims along that stretch of the Arab souk: European Muslims and African Jews and Asian Christians brush against the pushy vendors…