Monday, 13 June 2011

We must not forget the Christians of the Middle East

There are disturbing reports emerging from the Middle East which suggest that violence by Islamist militants against Christians is increasing daily. Tragically, the "Arab Spring," which has been seized upon somewhat naively in parts of the west, could just be another nail in the coffin of the beleaguered and persecuted Christian communities of the region. It would be nothing short of miraculous if from the the ruins of middle-eastern dictatorships (largely secular, by the way, if brutally repressive) anything like representative, western-style democratic institutions were to emerge, develop and take root. History teaches us that from the chaos of revolutions the best organised groups tend to emerge as the victors. And whatever happens, 'democracy' in itself, without further constitutional safeguards, is no guarantor of minority rights.
However, the really worrying aspect of this situation is that none of these ancient Christian communities can rely on the support of western governments, or a largely uninformed western public opinion, to protect their interests, their legitimate rights and, indeed, their lives.
Our politicians are far too frightened of the economic realities of a threat to our oil supply, and unnecessarily afraid of causing offence to the very vocal Muslim minorities in our midst to lift a finger. Our mass media (brave only when they know they are on the side of the zeitgeist) are too much in the grip of fashionable notions about whose human rights predicaments are, or are not, deemed to be newsworthy (see this story if you had any doubts about that) to offer anything other than a footnote by way of an epitaph for communities which have been in existence since the very early days of the Church.
Here is a  report on the situation in Egypt from The Voice of the Copts, and here, on the worldwide situation,  from Aid to the Church in Need

Update: BBC R4's 'Analysis' programme today reports on Egypt post-January 2011. [here]
Over-optimistic in its assessment - Islamism forced to moderate its position by "the logic of democracy?" Time will tell. 

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