Mindy Belz’s book, They Say We Are Infidels, reads like fiction. I had to keep reminding myself that the stories within were true – they actually happened. This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s long. It’s detailed. And it’s heartbreaking. Going into this book I knew nothing about the Middle East – nothing of the history, the culture, the people. They Say We Are Infidels covers all of that and more.
Each chapter begins with a location, a year and a scripture verse. Covering the years 2003-2015, Ms. Belz follows the lives of Christians from the Middle East as both a friend and reporter. Her writing is so detailed that the reader is transported to the kitchen, living room, car or church alongside her friends and acquaintances as the stories of their lives unfold within the pages. Stories of churches being bombed, of pastors being kidnapped, of families fleeing for their lives. Stories of murder, genocide, terror, unspeakable hate and paralyzing fear. But also stories of hope, perseverance and survival.
I have to admit that this book was hard to follow at times for someone like me who is not a fiction reader simply because this book reads like fiction. It’s a book filled with stories. The author also assumes that the reader has at least some knowledge of middle eastern history (although she does give quite a few helpful explanations of people and events). It is also detail heavy, which is something that fiction lovers would appreciate but it made it more difficult for me since I read pretty much exclusively nonfiction. Still, I find myself thinking about the stories and the information I collected throughout this book on a regular basis. I’m honestly a bit haunted by them – which, I think, is probably a good thing.
I’m sure that the average person has no more knowledge or understanding of what has been going on across the globe than I do – and this book is a beautifully written, filled with personal stories and actual information about what is happening to real people who love Jesus in a place where loving Jesus is incredibly dangerous. If you are at all interested in understanding the plight of middle eastern Christians, you will find They Say We Are Infidels to be a wonderful read.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.