The persecution of Christians in predominantly Muslim countries is the great, unacknowledged human rights violation of our time. So kudos to Prince Charles–a decent guy, but often a bit of a goof when it comes to politics–for being willing to speak up. Last week, he addressed a group of Middle Eastern Christians at Clarence House:
“I have for some time now been deeply troubled by the growing difficulties faced by Christian communities in various parts of the Middle East,” he said.
“It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly being deliberately targeted 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.”
Charles said Christians now accounted for 4 per cent of the population in the Middle East and North Africa – the lowest concentration in the world. “It is clear that the Christian population of the Middle East has dropped dramatically over the last century and is falling still further,” he added.
He said the decline of the “irreplaceably precious” Christian tradition in the Middle East represented a “major blow” to peace in the region as Christians were part of the “fabric of society” often acting as bridge builders with other communities.
The reality is that Christians are being exterminated, not only in the Middle East but in other Muslim countries, like Pakistan. I cannot explain why this persecution has not provoked world-wide outrage.
Encouragingly, Labour’s shadow Foreign Secretary has seconded Charles’s concerns:
The Labour shadow foreign secretary has said his party should “do God” in order to stop the persecution of Christians and shouldn’t be put off by the fear of causing offense. …
Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Alexander says: “Across the world, there will be Christians this week for whom attending a church service this Christmas is not an act of faithful witness, but an act of life-risking bravery. That cannot be right and we need the courage to say so.”
Is this really something that requires courage? Seriously?
“People of all faiths and none should be horrified by this persecution. We cannot, and we must not, stand by on the other side in silence for fear of offense.”
“For fear of offense?” What does that mean? Who, other than the persecutors, could possibly be offended by representatives of civilized countries objecting to the persecution of Christians?
Mr Alexander added that persecution of Christians should be viewed in the same way as anti-Seminism or Islamophobia, and not just opposed by lone voices.
Which of these things is not like the others? Is there a place in the world where Muslims are being slaughtered for being Muslims? Not that I know of. To be sure, large numbers of Muslims are murdered by fellow Muslims for being Sunni or Shia, but that is another matter: I don’t think it falls into the category of “Islamophobia.”
There probably isn’t any chance of the Obama administration taking interest in the persecution of Christians, so it is good to see growing awareness of the issue in Great Britain. In the U.S., we have heard a lot in recent years about a “war on Christmas”–not much this year, thankfully. It would be better to focus on the real war, the war on Christians that is being waged around the world.