The Corner

What to Do about Anti-Christian Violence in the Middle East

Islamists exploded a bomb that killed 21 Coptic Christians and injured scores of others as they left a crowded New Year’s Mass at an Orthodox church in Alexandria, Egypt, thus continuing their practice of terrorizing this long-oppressed Middle Eastern religious group. This was hardly unforeseeable: Last holiday season, an Islamist attack killed six Copts celebrating Orthodox Christmas at a church in the Egyptian village of Nag Hamadi, and incendiary accusations and denunciations from various Islamist quarters against the Copts have been mounting since then. The Copts have begun to stage angry and desperate protests against Cairo’s failure to provide them with meaningful protection.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, Islamist militants continue the killing spree that includes last October’s attack on a Baghdad Catholic church, which killed 58 Sunday worshipers, including two priests. According to news reports, several people have been killed and dozens of others injured since then in a spate of Islamist militant attacks targeting Christian neighborhoods across Baghdad. One of the survivors of that bombing, a Catholic woman who lived in central Baghdad, was shot in the head while she slept today.

The Islamists behind these attacks — who have also mercilessly killed and maimed Muslims they do not agree with, especially those with more moderate views — hope to eradicate the Christian presence, which they view as impure. Egypt and Iraq are the last two of three remaining large Christian centers in the Muslim Middle East (the other is Lebanon), and Christians are the single largest non-Muslim religious group there. This period of intensified anti-Christian violence has significant social and political implications for that region, as well as security concerns for the West.

What can the United States do, apart from offering condolences?

Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini proposed today that EU aid should be reduced or eliminated for countries that do not protect Christian minorities. According to Stratfor, the global intelligence news agency, “Italy cannot stay ‘isolated’ in the battle for Christians’ rights and must shift from monitoring to action, Frattini said. The European Union should work with and encourage countries that respect Christians’ rights, he said. Italy will present a resolution on religious freedom to the United Nations; the resolution is supported by the European Union, and several non-EU nations have expressed ‘great interest.’”

For humanitarian reasons and for our own security, the Obama administration and the new Congress should support these initiatives.

— Nina Shea is the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.

Nina Shea is the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.

Most Popular

U.S.

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More
Books

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More
Politics & Policy

He Just Can’t Help Himself

By Saturday, the long-simmering fight between Nancy Pelosi and her allies on one side and the “squad” associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other had risen to an angrier and more destructive level at the Netroots Nation conference. Representative Ayanna Pressley, an African-American Massachusetts ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More
Sports

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
Education

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More