52 Christians and security personel were killed in Iraq over the weekend. Half a million Christians have fled the country, gunmen have run amok in churches in Egypt and Algeria, Christians have been burned alive in Pakistan, attacked in India, Malaysia and Indonesia and persecuted in Saudi Arabia..the list goes on and on - and yet what we frequently hear about is - 'The War On Islam'.
The 'War on Islam' theory is mostly based on the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the ongoing debate over burkas and veils. It is utterly flawed.
The rights and wrongs of the Afghan and Iraq wars are not the point here, the question is did the 'West', acting as a neo crusader, invade those countries because they have majority Muslim populations. The answer is no. You can argue oil, strategy, liberal interventionism, personal reasons etc, but there is nothing to suggest that if those countries had populations which worshipped blue cheese, the Americans and British would have acted any differently. As for the debate over veils, these are narrow points to do with security, an open society and pluralism. What is true is that in the West there is freedom of worship, Muslims are not 'ethnically cleansed' from cities, and gunmen do not run amok in Mosques or burn Muslims alive.
Now back to the other war. Note that those who posit that there is a war on Islam say that entire peoples, countries, indeed cultures are attacking them. It is important to keep in mind that the war on Christianity is not perpetrated by Islam, nor Muslims, nor a culture. It is perpetrated by radical islamists some of whom propagate the ideas which lead to violence, and some who carry out the violence. They are a distinct minority among hundreds of millions of peaceful people.
Iraq is the best example, although here there are complicating factors. Some of the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Iraq is carried out by criminals using Islam as a flag of convenience to cover the naked shame of their gangsterism. They force Christians to leave unless they pay large 'fines' to continue their religious beliefs. But many of the more than 2,000 Christians murdered in targeted attacks in Iraq since 2003 were killed by islamists who object to Christians because of their beliefs.
This weekend the first person to die in the Baghdad church was the priest who was singled out and murdered. Al Queda In Iraq posted a statement calling the church a 'dirty den of idolatry'.
During one of the attacks on an ex pat compound in Saudi Arabia Al Queda men singled out Christian and Hindu 'dogs' before shooting them but spared Muslims. The latter incident is very telling. If they had found any Jews in the compound, for them, that would have been the bloody icing on the murderous cake. One thing the western media has failed to convoy to the public is that AQ isn't just against the 'western foreign policy' it is against everyone who isn't a Muslim.
Add to these attacks the lack of religous freedoms in many countries, and you see Christians are suffering across the world. This takes many forms. In Saudi Arabia a Christian is not supposed to worship anywhere, although usually a blind eye is taken for ceremonies held in private houses. If you fly on some airlines to and from the Middle East and the film you are watching features a cross, the cross is blurred out as it is deemed to be offensive to Muslim eyes. It is not widely known, but Christians, indeed all non Muslims are forbidden from entering the city of Mecca on the grounds that the Koran (9.28) says they are unclean.
The latter examples are given merely to show the depth of paranoia in some areas. In themselves they are silly, inconvenient, or downright offensive, but you can suffer them and still live your life. Where they connect to the murderers is that they fuel the idea of Christians as inferior, almost non people, and that in turn leads the radical Islamists to don suicide belts, enter a church, surround themselves with Christians, and when the rescuers arrive, to detonate the explosives and kill as many Christian women and children as possible.