For clearer insight into this purge of communities from their ancient homelands, we have journalist Mindy Belz to thank. They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East (Tyndale) [5 stars] contains reporting from her many trips to the region, during which she faced threats of being stoned, kidnapped, or murdered. . . . With her vivid personal accounts, Belz puts a human face on grim statistics. Some of these 21st-century martyrs were her friends. After reading They Say We Are Infidels, no one can deny their suffering.
Belz, senior editor of World Magazine, began covering international events at the end of the Cold War, and in the early 1990s she witnessed Islamic extremism rising to fill the vacuum left behind by the collapse of Communism and the vanished geopolitical influence of the U.S.S.R. That initial sense of a significant shift in the regions power dynamics stuck with Belz, and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she began exclusively covering the Middle East. This book relates her travels throughout the region, including insight on the political situation and on-the-ground reportage. Belz traveled multiple times to dangerous locations in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon to report firsthand how Christians were being driven from their homes, tortured, raped, and killed. She structures her account in chronological order, detailing the strangers who became friends and their harrowing escapes together that will leave readers alternately angry and frustrated at the international community for failing to take action on behalf of these displaced people. Belzs journalistic style makes this weighty text palatable, as her own story is woven through each thread. With militant groups continuing to grow and wreak havoc throughout the Middle East, Belzs account of life under siege is the latest in a chorus of voices rising up to demand an end to violence against the regions Christians.