'Arab winter' chills Christians

The Wall Street Journal reports on the plight of Christians in the Middle East:

At least 54 Iraqi churches have been bombed and at least 905 Christians killed in various acts of violence since the U.S. invasion toppled Hussein in 2003, according to Archbishop Louis Sako of the Chaldean Catholic Church in the northern provinces of Kirkuk and Sulimaniya. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled. A report on Iraq released Tuesday by Minority Rights Group International said that about 500,000 Christians remain in Iraq, down from an estimated 800,000 to 1.4 million in 2003.

"It's a hemorrhage," Archbishop Sako says. "Iraq could be emptied of Christians."

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Iraq's Christians aren't the only ones under pressure. In Egypt, long-simmering tensions between Muslims and Coptic Christians have flared into violence. Christians, who account for about 10% of Egypt's about 80 million people, worry that the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and ultraconservative Islamic groups will erode some of the protections Christians had carved out under a succession of military-dominated governments.


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