The Catholic Herald – Ed West
9 January 2014
The annual number of Christians killed for their faith doubled in 2013, with 2,213 dead as a result of “martyr” killings, compared to 1,102 the previous year.
The statistics come from Open Doors’s ‘World Watch List’, and most of this increase can be accounted for by the 1,213 deaths in Syria, where several villages, most notably Sadad, were overrun by Islamist militias. As Michel Varton, head of Open Doors France, said: “In Syria, another war is thriving in the shadow of the civil war – the war against the church.”
Religious violence is one of many areas where the West seems to be traveling in the opposite direction to the rest of the world; just as European countries are introducing gay marriage, elsewhere many states are becoming increasing intolerant about sexuality; while countries like Britain are increasingly secular, Kuwait and Brunei are just the latest non-Western states to introduce harsher laws against blasphemy and apostasy. In our country ‘diversity’ is repeated like a mantra, yet in much of the world historic, ancient minorities are being driven out by majorities.
Perhaps this escalator trend has helped blind people in the West to what is going on elsewhere, complacently believing that non-secularists are on the wrong side of history. Maybe we are and just don’t know it yet.
Until a year or so ago Christian persecution had been largely ignored in the British media, the victims being “too Christian” to excite the Left and “too foreign” to excite the Right, in the words of French philosopher Regis Debray. However a number of publications have helped to highlight the problem, among them Persecuted,Christianophobia and The Global War on Christians, and several politicians have raised the issue recently. Most recently Ukip’s Nigel Farage suggested that Christian Syrian refugees be given preference, something that caused outcries in the social media on the grounds that it discriminated and was therefore the worst thing ever.
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