It's Sunday. Spare a thought for those being persecuted in the Middle East. The assaults on Christians in Egypt and Syria recently have been horrific. Here's a piece of the article in Foreign Affairs:
At the start of World War I, the Christian population of the Middle East may have been as high as 20 percent. Today, it is roughly four percent. Although it is difficult to be exact, there are perhaps 13 million Christians left in the region, and that number has likely fallen further, given the continued destabilization of Syria and Egypt, two nations with historically large Christian populations. At the present rate of decline, there may very well be no significant Christian presence in the Middle East in another generation or two.
This would be a profoundly important loss. Christianity was born in the Middle East and had a deep, penetrating presence in the region for hundreds of years before the rise of Islam.
. . . But it is important to note that the removal of the region’s Christians is a disaster for Muslims as well. They are the ones who will be left with the task of building decent societies in the aftermath of these atrocities. And that task will be made immeasurably harder by the removal of Christians from their midst. It is not just that the memory of these brutal actions will taint these societies -- perpetrators and victims alike -- for the indefinite future; it is also that Muslims are removing the sort of pluralism that is the foundation for any truly democratic public life. One of the refrains of the Arab Spring has been that Muslims want to put an end to tyranny. But the only lasting guarantor of political rights is the sort of social and religious diversity that Muslims in the region are in the process of extinguishing. If nothing is done to reverse the situation, the hope for peace and prosperity in the Middle East may vanish along with the region’s Christian population.