Back in 1997, American author Paul Marshall said that anti-Christian persecution had been “all but totally ignored by the world at large”. To be sure, the situation has changed in the 16 years since Marshall’s classic work Their Blood Cries Out. A cluster of advocacy groups and relief organisations has emerged, and from time to time anti-Christian persecution has drawn coverage in major news outlets such as the Economist, Newsweek and Commentary. On the whole, however, the war on Christians remains the world’s best-kept secret. As recently as 2011, Italian journalist Francesca Paci – who writes for the Italian media market, which probably pays more attention to Christian topics than almost any other culture on earth, given the massive footprint of the Vatican – said about the fate of persecuted Christians in places such as Iraq, Algeria, and India: “We ignore too many things, and even more indefensibly, we pretend not to see too many things.”
In 2011, the Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, addressed the crisis facing Arab Christianity in the Middle East during a conference in London. He bluntly asked: “Does anybody hear our cry? How many atrocities must we endure before somebody, somewhere, comes to our aid?” Those are questions that deserve answers, and understanding the motives for the silence about the global war on Christians is a good place to begin.
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