German Chancellor Angela Merkel has claimed, quite rightly, that Christianity is “the most persecuted religion worldwide.” This didn’t go down too well with her hosts in Tel Aviv, since Jews feel entitled to claim that title for themselves (bizarrely so, given the gruesome nature of the competition. Of course, their 6.5 million deaths in the Holocaust just doesn’t compared with the 60 million or so who died under Chairman Mao but that’s for a whole other post.)
Writing in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, Rupert Shortt agrees with Merkel and asks why such a huge scourge is chronically under-reported in the West. He says about 200 million Christians face daily discrimination or persecution: it just isn’t fashionable to say so.
Imagine the unspeakable fury that would erupt across the Islamic world if a Christian-led government in Khartoum had been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese Muslims over the past 30 years. Or if Christian gunmen were firebombing mosques in Iraq during Friday prayers. Or if Muslim girls in Indonesia had been abducted and beheaded on their way to school, because of their faith.
Such horrors are barely thinkable, of course. But they have all occurred in reverse, with Christians falling victim to Islamist aggression. Only two days ago, a suicide bomber crashed a jeep laden with explosives into a packed Catholic church in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 100… Other notable trouble spots include Egypt, where 600,000 Copts – more than the entire population of Manchester – have emigrated since the 1980s in the face of harassment or outright oppression.