Eight bombs exploded within a two-hour period in Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 2 and wounding 14. These bomb attacks targeted Christians, and follow a growing pattern, as well as underscoring a troubling pattern in the Middle East. Increasingly, some radical Islamic groups have begun targeting Christians, apparently in retaliation for “Christian” (i.e. U.S. and NATO) occupation of Iraq and continuing presence in the region. Those attacks reached a horrific peak in October when the congregation of a Catholic church was massacred, leaving over sixty dead.
One measure of Christian persecution is out-migration. Christians leave Iraq and Lebanon in significant numbers. Egypt is tough to call, while there is no noticeable out-migration from Syria or Jordan. The out-migration from Lebanon does not appear to be due to radical Islamic violence against Christians, but rather a response to the general level of instability and violence. Violence in that country is tribal and political rather than religious.
Syria and Jordan are both ruled by traditionalist and nationalist governments with a history of religious tolerance. The former Baathist government of Iraq, whatever other failings it suffered from, and they were legion, practiced religious tolerance for Christians.
Here is a link to a Juan Cole column with some good insights.About the Author: The major landmarks in Frank's historical interests range from ancient Persia through the Crimean War, World War II, and the modern U.S. Armed Forces, with a lot of stops in between. Frank is fascinated by the unusual, the overlooked, and the surprising. He is the New York Times number one best-selling author of the Desert Shield Fact Book (1991) and he is currently writing an historical novel on Alexander's conquest of Persia – from the Persian point of view.