Rupert Shortt seeks to draw attention to a strangely under-reported problem: the worldwide persecution of Christians. Some 200 million Christians are under serious threat, predominantly in Muslim countries.
Shortt’s well-researched, passionately argued book makes grim reading: from Egypt to Iraq, and Pakistan to Indonesia, Christians are being intimidated, beaten up, falsely imprisoned, murdered and burnt alive. Christians are also oppressed in other, non-Muslim countries, though to lesser extents. To account for media neglect of the situation, Shortt theorises that a bien pensant secular blind spot is partly to blame – which seems unfair, since secularists tend to be strong proponents of religious tolerance. Shortt also suggests, cautiously, that Islam needs to evolve a more tolerant attitude to other faiths, as Christianity did before it.