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What to Do about Anti-Christian Violence in the Middle East

ICC Note:

The National Review refers to the increasing number and intensity of attacks against Christians throughout the Middle East as the “Islamists… hope to eradicate the Christian presence.” The article suggests that the United States should do more than merely “offering condolences” to persecuted Christians in Egypt and Iraq.

By Nina Shea 

1/3/2011 Middle East (National Review) – Islamists exploded a bomb that killed 21 Coptic Christians and injured scores of others as they left a crowded New Year’s Mass at an Orthodox church in Alexandria, Egypt, thus continuing their practice of terrorizing this long-oppressed Middle Eastern religious group. This was hardly unforeseeable: Last holiday season, an Islamist attack killed six Copts celebrating Orthodox Christmas at a church in the Egyptian village of Nag Hamadi, and incendiary accusations and denunciations from various Islamist quarters against the Copts have been mounting since then. The Copts have begun to stage angry and desperate protests against Cairo’s failure to provide them with meaningful protection.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, Islamist militants continue the killing spree that includes last October’s attack on a Baghdad Catholic church, which killed 58 Sunday worshipers, including two priests. According to news reports, several people have been killed and dozens of others injured since then in a spate of Islamist militant attacks targeting Christian neighborhoods across Baghdad. One of the survivors of that bombing, a Catholic woman who lived in central Baghdad, was shot in the head while she slept today.

The Islamists behind these attacks — who have also mercilessly killed and maimed Muslims they do not agree with, especially those with more moderate views — hope to eradicate the Christian presence, which they view as impure. Egypt and Iraq are the last two of three remaining large Christian centers in the Muslim Middle East (the other is Lebanon), and Christians are the single largest non-Muslim religious group there. This period of intensified anti-Christian violence has significant social and political implications for that region, as well as security concerns for the West.

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