about MEC

MEC was founded in 1991, in response to needs expressed by Christian leaders in the Middle East and North Africa region.

MEC’s member organisations and member individuals include Christians living and working in all 24 countries and territories in the region: Algeria; Bahrain; Egypt; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Mauritania; Morocco; Northern Cyprus; Oman; Palestine; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; Sudan; Syria; Tunisia; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; Yemen.

MEC (Middle East Concern) supports people in the Middle East and North Africa who are marginalised, discriminated against or persecuted for being or becoming Christians

Persecution takes many forms – from oppression and discrimination to denial of constitutional and internationally acknowledged freedoms. For centuries Christians in the Middle East and North Africa have been discriminated against, marginalised, detained, imprisoned, tortured and even killed for their faith in Jesus Christ. Believers from Muslim backgrounds are often in great danger, suffering in silence, cut off from family and Christian fellowship, and vulnerable to abuse by state security forces and extremist groups.

MEC believes Christians are called to stand with those who are persecuted. Christians are called not only to expect persecution but also to fight injustice. Responding to the injustice of persecution is part of the Christian calling:

“Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering”
Hebrews 13:3

MEC works with churches and community leaders to monitor persecution and discrimination. On the request of local church leadership, MEC provides support by:

assisting victims of persecution

  • offering encouragement and informed, trustworthy expertise
  • mobilising worldwide prayer, in open or confidential networks
  • initiating political advocacy on behalf of victims of persecution
  • providing practical and financial support

 

 

challenging unjust laws, policies and attitudes

  • undertaking research-based advocacy on legal and policy issues that underlie persecution
  • campaigning for the reinstatement of civil rights to converts from Islam
  • addressing unhealthy responses to persecution such as hasty relocation to the West

 

equipping Christians to face persecution

  • leading seminars to help Christians respond Biblically to suffering and persecution
  • training community leaders in constitutional rights and international law
  • providing training in crisis management and handling arrest and interrogation

 

The mandate of MEC is taken from the Bible and other sources including (in chronological order):

Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948
Article 18


“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in a community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

 

Dignitatis Humanae 1965
Declaration on Religious Freedom


“This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.”

Lausanne Covenant 1974
Paragraph 13


“We pray for the leaders of the nations and call upon them to guarantee freedom of thought, conscience and religion in accordance with the Will of God and as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also express our deep concern for all who have been unjustly imprisoned and especially for our brethren who are suffering for their testimony to the Lord Jesus.”

MEC welcomes more recent statements by leaders from a range of church traditions which reaffirm a commitment to promoting religious freedom and supporting those persecuted for their faith. These statements include the following (in chronological order):

“Persecution must raise the awareness of Christians worldwide of the need for greater solidarity. It must also arouse in us the commitment to support and insist on international law and respect for all people and all peoples. The attention of the whole world should be focused on the tragic situation of certain Christian communities of the Middle East which suffer all manner of trials sometimes even to the point of martyrdom.”

Synod of Bishops Special Assembly for the Middle East 2010, Propositio 5 (excerpt)

“We commit ourselves to share in the suffering of members of the body of Christ throughout the world, through information, prayer, advocacy and other means of support.”

Lausanne Movement Cape Town Commitment 2010, Excerpt

“In many cases, Christians [of the Middle East] are treated as ‘second class’ citizens. In other cases, their places of worship… are profaned or destroyed, or elsewhere the performance of religious services and education of clergy are restricted. In addition to all this, occasionally there are examples of assaults of bloody violence against Christians, deriving from extreme circles of religious fanatics… We do not refrain from demanding the protection to which we are entitled by the states where we live. This, we believe, is the sole solution to the problems of the greatly tormented region of the Middle East, as well as of the entire world.”

Message of the Heads of the ancient Orthodox Patriarchates and time-honoured Autocephalous Church of Cyprus 2011, Excerpts

There is an overwhelming need for an organisation like MEC, which raises cases of persecution directly and individually

Lord Alton of Liverpool, House of Lords, UK

We appreciate it so much as MEC stands up and speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9).

Christian leader in Sudan

MEC makes a major contribution towards supporting the church in the Middle East

Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors

 

I thank God for blessing me with MEC, the assistance of MEC has given me great courage

Middle East Christian forced to flee

MEC has a unique ministry in one of the most rapidly changing spiritual situations I know of – we need MEC and the work to which God has called them

Christian leader in the Middle East

I’m really thankful for all MEC’s help – MEC has been a real rock in the storm

Wife of an imprisoned Middle East Christian

Board of Reference

  • Lord David Alton, UK
  • Brother Andrew, Netherlands
  • Dr Donald Argue, USA
  • Rev Daniel Bianchi, Argentina
  • Robyn Claydon, Australia
  • Julia Doxat-Purser, UK
  • Dr Joseph D’Souza, India
  • Rt Rev Derek Eaton, New Zealand
  • Dr Bertil Ekström, Sweden
  • Annelie Enochson, Sweden
  • Rev Afeef Halasah, Jordan
  • Rev Edward Hovsepian, Iran
  • Dr Ehab al-Kharrat, Egypt
  • Rev Bob Lopez, Philippines
  • Murray Louw, South Africa
  • Dr Don McCurry, USA
  • Dr Paul Marshall, USA
  • Rev Youssef Ourahmane, Algeria
  • Rev Ihsan Özbek, Turkey
  • Rev Ariovaldo Ramos, Brazil
  • Peter Tarantal, South Africa
  • Rev Eberhard Troeger, Germany
  • Mats Tunehag, Sweden
  • Dr Dudley Woodberry, USA