“It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are, increasingly, being deliberately attacked by fundamentalist Islamist militants. Christianity was, literally, born in the Middle East and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ.We can only welcome his intervention. The secularised West - in full cultural revolt against its own heritage and all too happy to take on a burden of guilt induced by somewhat unhistorical accounts of the origins of the Crusades, involving a wilful blindness to the violent military expansionism of Islam - has been silent on this issue for far too long.
“For 20 years, I have tried to build bridges between Islam and Christianity and to dispel ignorance and misunderstanding. The point though, surely, is that we have now reached a crisis where the bridges are rapidly being deliberately destroyed by those with a vested interest in doing so, and this is achieved through intimidation, false accusation and organised persecution, including to Christian communities in the Middle East at the present time.”
Of course, western support for indigenous Christians in the Middle East has always been a double-edged sword (as, indeed, it was during the latter period of the Crusades - if anywhere, that's where the historical guilt should come in) ; the post-war establishment of the State of Israel has complicated things immensely for them.
Yet if someone does not speak out clearly, this generation of Middle-Eastern Christians - our brothers and sisters in the faith - may well be the last as they fall victim to the fundamentalist Islamic fanaticism of our own time ...