One of the most unreported stories from the Middle East is the Christian presence in that region of the world. About 10% of Egypt’s 70 million inhabitants are Coptic Christians whose presence in Egypt predates the arrival of the Muslim religion. Although, historically, they have lived in peace with Muslim neighbors, there is increasing evidence of a rise in tensions. This week in the town of Isna in southern Egypt, Muslim rioters attacked Coptic Christians claiming that some Coptic men had pulled down the veil of a Muslim woman. Rioters attacked Coptic owned stores and smashed windows in a church. Last week Muslims went on a rampage over stories that some Coptic Christian men had raped a Muslim girl in a pharmacy. The store was sacked and dozens of people were hurt in the demonstrations.
The American media has generally ignored the Christian story in the Middle East. About 70% of the 1,000,000 Christians in Iraq have fled the country out of fear of being attacked by Shiite or Sunni militants. Many leaders of the Palestine movement were Christians but it is rare today to find any among top ranks of the Palestinian Authority. Ironically, an American initiated invasion of Iraq by a man who claims to be a devout Christian is partially responsible for the rise in anger toward Christians and their departure from Iraq.