Thought for the day - 05/08/2013 - Clifford Longley
Good morning xxx
One of the most difficult things to talk about is the persecution of Christians by Muslims. Not all Muslims of course, or even the majority. The very fact I have to emphasise that qualification, and insist that intolerance is the exception not the rule, shows you just how tricky this is.
But it is the case, under-reported in the West, that substantial numbers of Christians are being killed or forced out of their homes - moving either into refugee camps as is the case of Syria, or seeking permanent settlement in the West, as is happening on a increasing scale to Christians from Egypt, Palestine, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, northern Nigeria and elsewhere.
Thus isn't just about religious belief. Christian minority communities often have different tribal and ethnic customs from the surrounding majority. Sometimes it is indeed just because they are Christians, but sometimes it's a by-product of deep divisions within the Muslim world itself, Sunni versus Shia, for instance, or moderate versus fundamentalist. Politics, local or national, is also involved, as are substantial cultural factors.
Christian leaders face a real dilemma. They know that Christians have often played the role of persecutor in the past. But they don't want to give currency to the idea that there is a fundamental clash going on, here and now, between the world's two largest faiths who together make up more than a third of the world's total population. They know that all over the West, Muslim communities have to live peaceably side by side with non-Muslim majorities...