Everyone’s happy about the arrival of the future king of Britain – that is, everyone at leisure to take note. Presumably, Middle Eastern Christians have been too busy trying to survive to worry over whether the Duchess of Cambridge was in false labor.
And while the hard-nosed journalists at ABC, CBS and NBC have been knitting booties and speculating on names, Middle Eastern Christians have been attacked by Islamists, prevented from worshipping, driven from homes and villages, beaten and executed.
Between April 22 and July 21, the three broadcast networks mentioned Kate Middleton’s pregnancy 110 times. That’s 110 more mentions than they gave the escalating violence against Christians in Syria and Egypt.
In recent months, as the Syrian Civil War has ground on and the situation in Egypt has destabilized, the plight of Middle Eastern Christians has intensified. The proof can be found in any number of newspaper reports and magazine articles. But not on the network news. ABC, CBS and NBC often mentioned Egypt’s Christians, and even their opposition to the Morsi Muslim Brotherhood government. But the networks gave no indication of how bad things were for the Christian minority in the Muslim nations.
In July, according to The Guardian (UK) newspaper, “A Coptic priest was killed in northern Sinai.” The Daily Telegraph (UK) identified the victim as Mina Aboud Sharween, a priest serving el-Arish’s Coptic Christian community, was shot dead by two gunmen on a motorbike. All this went almost unnoticed in the international media.”
Well, certainly by the U.S. networks. Even liberal papers like The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times have covered the anti-Christian violence. On July 16, The New York Times reported on the chaos of Egyptian politics. “A controversial Salafi preacher, Abu Islam, defaced a Christian Bible to make his sectarian point. (He was ordered to pay a fine.) Meanwhile, in southern Egypt, a Coptic Christian schoolteacher, Dimyana Abdel-Nour, was tried on trumped-up charges of attacking Islam in the classroom. She paid a much larger fine, and her case is still open.”
But that’s mild compared to a Times article from just four days before, which detailed “scapegoating attacks by Muslim extremists against Christians they accuse of supporting [Morsi’s] fall.” The piece noted that “attacks have been reported across the country – in the northern Sinai Peninsula, in a resort town on the Mediterranean Coast, in Port Said along the Suez Canal and in isolated villages in upper Egypt.”
“Islamists have painted black X's on Christian shops to mark them for arson and mobs have attacked churches and besieged Christians in their homes,” the report went on. “Four Christians were reported killed with knives and machetes in one village last week.”
In Syria, the situation is even more dire. Two Orthodox bishops were kidnapped by rebel forces on April 22 and are feared dead. On June 23, Francois Murad, a Franciscan priest, was shot and killed by jihadists who were pillaging a monastery. It was mistakenly thought that Murad had been beheaded on a video that surfaced at the same time. However, the three victims decapitated by Syrian rebels for the camera were also Christians.
In a June 30 article, the Los Angeles Times reported on besieged Christians. “In Qusair the Roman Catholic Church of St. Elias was defaced during a more than yearlong rebel occupation of the town near the Lebanese border. During a recent visit, a reporter saw vandalized images of saints and Christ and graffiti scrawled on church walls berating ‘infidels.’”
“Residents of minority communities, such as the Christians of Sednaya, predict that eviction or death will be their fate if they do not resist now,” the Times reported. “‘If the terrorists come here, none of us will be left alive,’ says Hussam Azar, a.k.a. the Whale, who heads the self-defense effort here. ‘They will kill us all.’”
‘“I have a question for you,’ Azar asks a U.S. reporter. ‘Why does America want all the Christians out of the Middle East?’”
It’s not an idle question. According to a March, 2013 article in The Economist, a century ago “Christians made up a tenth of the region’s population; today it is less than 4 percent.”
The networks lavished incredible time and resources to report that England’s Christian population was growing by one. Their audiences might find it interesting to learn that the Middle East’s Christian population is shrinking by more than that.