by Alex Schank
Violent acts against Christians in the Middle East have spurred a series of calls both regionally and internationally for the protection of a vulnerable religious minority in a Muslim-dominated part of the world. Salafist attacks on churches in Egypt, the bloody Maspero clashes between the army and Coptic demonstrators, and an apparently increasingly sectarian popular uprising in Syria have raised alarm bells in international and regional Christian networks and foreign policy circuits about the plight of Middle Eastern Christians.
The notion that Christians are threatened by a changing, revolutionary Middle East is not necessarily unfounded. The blood spilled in Cairo in recent months and the armed conflict in Syria raise real concerns about the safety of all citizens, particularly ethnic and religious minorities, and all those demonstrating for their rights. Indeed, the specters of sectarian civil war and Christian persecution from the recent historical experiences of Lebanon and Iraq, respectively, seem to loom over the region.