Frank Gaffney

Did you have a Merry Christmas? If so, chances are you are not a Christian in the Middle East or many other parts of the world.

Under the headline "Christianity 'close to extinction' in Middle East," London's Telegraph reported this week on the findings of a shocking new study by a British think tank known as Civitas: the Institute for the Study of Civil Society.

The new study is entitled "Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack," thereby making the foundational point that - as opposed to the purported problem of "Islamophobia" manufactured by Islamic supremacists to cow and induce Christians and other infidels to submit to their dictates - followers of Christ are truly being persecuted in much of the planet. Civitas puts it this way: "It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree. A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers."

As the Telegraph observed, the report draws on published estimates showing that as many as "200 million Christians, or 10 percent of Christians worldwide, are ‘socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.'" And "between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left the region or been killed in the past century."

The study's author is Rupert Shortt, a journalist and visiting fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. He argues that, "Exposing and combating the problem ought in my view to be political priorities across large areas of the world. That this is not the case tells us much about a questionable hierarchy of victimhood."

"Hierarchy of victimhood" is one, very anodyne way of describing the forces at work. Another would be to call it what it is: a blatant double-standard that has the effect of excusing and enabling Islamists, the Chinese Communists and other totalitarians to engage in mass and often brutal repression of Christians for simply exercising religious liberties our country claims to consider unalienable.

The effect of this practice is especially palpable in the region that was the birthplace of Christianity. Few native Christians feel safe living in Bethlehem anymore and Islamic supremacists like Mahmoud Abbas instead preside over the holiday observances there. Christians have fled Iraq - one of their ancient homelands - en masse. Many of them have wound up in neighboring Syria where they and their native co-religionists face rape, torture and extermination at the hands of the "rebels" striving, with our help, to overthrow Basher Assad.

Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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