Christians in other Islamic countries are treated even worse. In countries like Saudi Arabia, Christians must practice their faith in secret. While being a Christian, in and of itself, isn’t illegal, saying or doing something that lets others know it is. And, as we recently witnessed with Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan, conversion from Islam to Christianity is a crime punishable by death, as it is in many parts of the Islamic world.
The Islamic world’s treatment of its Christian minority raises crucial questions for our effort to export democracy as a way to combat terrorism—an effort I support. But if democracy means anything, it means the protection of fundamental human rights like freedom of religion. So long as Christians remain targets of religious persecution in the Islamic world, not only will there be no future for Christians; there will be no future for true democracy, either. Our government and Christians must keep up the pressure.
“Man with Knife Attacks Egypt Worshippers,” CBS, 14 April 2006.
“U.S. Copts Association to Hold White House Demonstration against Anti-Christian Hate Crimes in Egypt,” U.S. Copts Association press release.
“Maronite Union Blame Jihadists for Crimes against Copts,” World Maronite Union, 17 April 2006.
Lawrence F. Kaplan, “Crossing Over: The Plight of Iraqi Christians,” New Republic, 23 March 2006. (Available to subscribers only.)