Why the West is afraid of Islam

Fear of Islamic radicalism cows the West into silence on Christian persecution.

In perhaps the only sign of action from the West to the increased intensity of Christian persecution, France has opened itself up to refugees from Iraq, who are being driven out under pain of death by ISIS.

This is a welcome reversion to form for France, which ever since the Middle Ages has periodically found ways to protect Christian minorities abroad.

This is a great beginning — but it is such a small response to the magnitude of Christian persecution, happening not just in Iraq and Syria, but in Nigeria and Egypt as well.

Why hasn’t there been a greater response from the once-Christian West to the plight of Christians?

It’s not for lack of outrageous events.

The International Society for Human Rights estimates that 80 percent of acts of religious discrimination in the world have Christians as their victims.

And these are starting to poke through the headlines.

The purge in Mosul attracted some attention, the kidnapping and threatened murder of mostly Christian girls by Boko Haram even more.

But much less is said about the fate of Syrian Christians or Copts.

Still less is said about even more obscure religious minorities like Yazidi and Druze who face discrimination from ISIS.

One reason for our silence, suggested by John Allen Jr. in his book The Global War on Christians, is that the modern humanitarian West has difficulty seeing Christians as “native” to third-world nations.

Their imagination of “global” Christianity is one of a religion implanted by Europeans and Americans through a violent, racist, and discredited colonialism.

Of course this isn’t true in these cases, as there were Christians in Iraq, Syria, and Egypt long before there were any in Britannia or Biloxi.

Allen also cited French philosopher Regis Debray’s view that in Christian persecution the victims are “‘too Christian’ to excite the Left, and ‘too foreign’ to excite the Right.” Continue reading


Michael Brendan Dougherty is senior correspondent at TheWeek.com.

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