From the WSJ:
"Christians today," writes John L. Allen Jr. , "indisputably are the most persecuted religious body on the planet." So widespread and systematic are the attacks, he explains, that they amount to a global war, which he proclaims "the transcendent human rights concern" in the modern world.
Mr. Allen is by no means the first writer to address this phenomenon, but he may be the best qualified. He has through the years established himself as among the best-informed commentators on the Vatican and the state of the Roman Catholic Church, and hearing so many contacts recount stories of persecution and discrimination has naturally sensitized him to anti-Christian campaigns, and by no means only those directed against Catholics.
The range of stories he tells is staggering and offers a compendium of modern-day heroes equal to anything in the church's long history. We are awed by the story of Catholic Archbishop Christophe Munzihirwa, who died in 1998 trying to safeguard his flock from the mounting carnage in the wars engulfing Congo and Rwanda. Time and again, he stood face to face with oppressors, dictators and genocidaires, until finally some soldiers shot him in the streets.
Mr. Allen's main point, though, is less to report the persecutions than to ask in bafflement why the West seems to care so little about them. Yes, the American media report individual attacks, provided they cause some critical minimum number of fatalities—20, say—but they offer no sense of generalized mayhem, any awareness that the same groups and denominations are being victimized in India and Sudan, in Indonesia and Kenya. Would such silence prevail in the face of a global campaign against any other group, ethnic or religious?
From Iraq and Egypt to Sudan and Nigeria, from Indonesia to the Indian subcontinent, Christians in the early 21st century are the world's most persecuted religious group. According to the secular International Society for Human Rights, 80 percent of violations of religious freedom in the world today are directed against Christians. In effect, our era is witnessing the rise of a new generation of martyrs. Underlying the global war on Christians is the demographic reality that more than two-thirds of the world's 2.3 billion Christians now live outside the West, often as a beleaguered minority up against a hostile majority-- whether it's Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, Hindu radicalism in India, or state-imposed atheism in China and North Korea. In Europe and North America, Christians face political and legal challenges to religious freedom. Allen exposes the deadly threats and offers investigative insight into what is and can be done to stop these atrocities.