|A Coptic Church in Libya lies in ruins|
Islamist "Cleansing" of Christians in Mideast - Ralph Peters
Islamist terrorists and fanatics are methodically exterminating the 2,000-year-old Christian civilization of the Middle East through oppression, threats, appropriations and deadly violence. Christianity's greatest thinkers, greatest monuments and greatest triumphs for its first 1,000 years rose in the Middle East. But today, the end is in sight.
In Iraq, the country's Christian population, estimated at up to 2 million a decade ago, has fallen by half - perhaps by three-quarters. Over 2 million Christians in Syria dread Islamist terror and religious cleansing. Two-thirds of the West Bank's and more of Gaza's Christians have been driven out. They're now a small minority even in Bethlehem. Christians in Iran? Gone. Turkey? Almost gone. Saudi Arabia? Once-thriving Christian and Jewish populations were finished off centuries ago.
Egypt has the region's largest remaining Christian population, at least 10 million Copts. With rare exceptions, they've long been confined to squalid quarters and treated as third-class citizens. Now the Salafist fanatics have been unleashed.
(New York Post)
A Wary Easter Weekend for Christians in Syria -Anne Barnard
Torches flickered outside the church. Little girls wore their sparkly Easter best. Children bearing lanterns filed out through the heavy gilt doors, as worshipers carried an icon of Jesus and a cross covered with carnations.
But the Good Friday procession at St. Kyrillos Church here in Syria’s capital did not follow the route it had taken for generations. No drums or trumpets announced its presence. The marchers made a tight circle inside the iron-gated courtyard, then headed back into the church...
Kidnappers Target Christians in Egypt -Hamza Hendawi
Ezzat Kromer, a Christian gynecologist in Matai, Egypt, was kidnapped by masked gunmen and held for ransom. His case was part of a dramatic rise of kidnappings targeting Christians, including children, in Egypt's southern province of Minya, home to the country's largest concentration of Christians.
Kromer, a father of three, was snatched on Jan. 29 as he drove home. By the next day, his family paid nearly $40,000 to a middleman and he was released.
Church leaders and rights activists blame the atmosphere created by the rising power of hard-line Islamists.
Over the past two years, there have been more than 150 reported kidnappings in the province - all of them targeting Christians, with 37 in the last several months, according to a top official at the Interior Ministry.