This week The Times has been running a series of features about Christianity in the modern world. Today Michael Binyon writes (£) about the plight of Christians who are marginalised and persecuted. His main focus is on the Muslim world; readers are reminded of the attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt, of the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani Cabinet Minister who was assassinated for speaking out against his country’s blasphemy laws, and of arrests of Christian worshippers in Saudi Arabia and Iran. He also notes that Christians have been targeted by Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka, by Hindutva extremists in India and by Communist regimes such as China and North Korea. However Binyon returns to Islam at the end of his survey.
Christian leaders have made it clear that they can do little to reduce Islamophobia in the West or champion religious minorities if Christians are not treated with justice in countries where they form a minority.
I’m not sure how much Christian leaders can do to reduce Islamophobia in the West – but it seems (though I’m an atheist) only Christian to have a go. It is right to draw attention to groups and regimes which discriminate against or attack Christians, and wrong to shy away from doing so because many Muslim countries are implicated. But it also seems right to seek to help those, whether in Western countries or elsewhere, who face anti-Muslim bigotry.