Muslim-Coptic violence in Egypt
Muslim-Coptic violence in Egypt Israel news photo:

American Christians are beginning to speak out against mistreatment of their Middle East brethren by the Muslim majority with whom they live.

The “Chicago Initiative” – a one-day conference held March 12 near Chicago – was focused on raising media awareness of the issue.

More than a dozen organizations, including churches and Middle Eastern Christian groups in the U.S., were behind the event.

Keynote speaker Walid Phares, author of “The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East,” told attendees that hostility toward Christians is “an undeniable fact of life in Muslim countries.”

Governments in the Middle East fail to protect the lives of indigenous Christians in the region, he said, a problem ignored in the West due to a lack of media coverage.

“I would like to see two hours on C-Span dedicated to the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt,” he said.

Violence perpetrated against Copts by Egypt's Muslim majority has been an issue for years. Protesters in the recent upheaval that toppled the 31-year regime of former President Hosni Mubarak claimed they were opposed to discrimination against Christians.

Other speakers described how Christians in Iraq, Iran and Egypt have been attacked by their neighbors and their governments.

Shari'a law is enshrined in the constitutions of Iraq and Egypt, attendees were told. Juliana Taimoorazy, director of the Chicago-based Iraqi Christian Relief Council, described the “horrific” attacks against Christians in Iraq.

Most speakers agreed that the most effective way to protect their brethren was by getting the message out through the media.