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Violence against Middle Eastern Christians, and preventative measures

08 November 2013


From Mrs Mary P. Roe

Sir, - Mr C. J. Ryecart makes a very reasonable point (Letters, 1 November) in his recommendation that some proportion of Western aid to Egypt should be allocated to providing security for people of all non-Islamic faiths, including Christians.

Nevertheless, I believe that we should go further back in history and seek to understand how the policies of many Western countries, particularly the United States, have antagonised the Islamic world by their unquestioning support of Israel's expansion into Palestinian occupied territory.

The seizure of Palestinians' olive groves and smallholdings and the isolation of family members by the separation wall, with its over-zealously manned checkpoints, has led people to perceive the Christian faith, despite its early history in Egypt, as an arm of the imperially minded West.

I fear that ensuring that the security forces are better armed, at the expense of the United States, would reinforce this perception and be like setting a match to a petrol-soaked building and then phoning for the fire brigade.

Is there nothing that we can do or say which will lead to peaceful co-operation between worshippers of the same God, all made in God's image? Surely this would be the way of Jesus Christ rather than surrounding with armed guards the two or three who are gathered in his name?

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