Today’s attack in Egypt is the latest strike in the war on Christians in the Middle East

Today’s attack in Egypt is the latest strike in the war on Christians in the Middle East, by John Allen, from 2013. At least 36 people have died in Egypt after blasts targeted Coptic Christians on Palm Sunday. Today’s attack is just the latest strike in the war on Christians in the Middle East. As Jonathan Sacks observed: ‘until recently, Christians represented 20 per cent of the population of the Middle East; today, 4 percent’.

Imagine if correspondents in late 1944 had reported the Battle of the Bulge, but without explaining that it was a turning point in the second world war. Or what if finance reporters had told the story of the AIG meltdown in 2008 without adding that it raised questions about derivatives and sub-prime mortgages that could augur a vast financial implosion?

Most people would say that journalists had failed to provide the proper context to understand the news. Yet that’s routinely what media outlets do when it comes to outbreaks of anti-Christian persecution around the world, which is why the global war on Christians remains the greatest story never told of the early 21st century. …

According to the International Society for Human Rights, a secular observatory based in Frankfurt, Germany, 80 per cent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians. … The carnage is occurring on such a vast scale that it represents not only the most dramatic Christian story of our time, but arguably the premier human rights challenge of this era as well. …

Anti-Christian violence is hardly limited to a ‘clash of civilisations’ between Christianity and Islam. In truth, Christians face a bewildering variety of threats, with no single enemy and no single strategy best adapted to curb the violence. …

Because the bulk of the globe’s 2.3 billion Christians today are impoverished and live in the developing world, and because they are often members of ethnic, cultural and linguistic minorities, experts regard their treatment as a reliable indicator of a society’s broader record on human rights and dignity. Just as one didn’t have to be Jewish in the 1970s to care about dissident Jews in the Soviet Union, nor black in the 1980s to be outraged by the Apartheid regime in South Africa, one doesn’t have to be Christian today to see the defence of persecuted Christians as a towering priority. ,,,

Why are the dimensions of this global war so often overlooked? Aside from the root fact that the victims are largely non-white and poor, and thus not considered ‘newsmakers’ in the classic sense, and that they tend to live and die well off the radar screen of western attention, the global war also runs up against the outdated stereotype of Christianity as the oppressor rather than the oppressed. Say ‘religious persecution’ to most makers of cultured secular opinion, and they will think of the Crusades, the Inquisition, Bruno and Galileo, the Wars of Religion and the Salem witch trials.

hat-tip Stephen Neil