William Dalrymple is a gifted travel writer who skillfully draws on church history, theology, Middle East politics and comparative religions to tell the story of Middle East Christians. His journey begins on Greece's Mt. Athos ("the holy mountain") and follows the route taken by the monk John Moschos in 587 CE, a time when Middle Eastern Christianity was at its peak.
It always feels a bit odd to me to pray for justice in the world--better to work for
justice and to pray for the courage and wherewithal to keep at it. Of
course, I know that my power to effect change is relatively small, and I
believe that God's is infinite. So I pray for justice, even though mere
words seem too easy even as I'm saying them.
Every significant act of protest has its iconic image: the barricades in Paris in the 1960s, the Berlin Wall in the ’80s, the roadside war-protest camps leading to George W. Bush’s Texas home in recent years.
In an interview with Oxford professor Michael Willis
about Tunisia, Radio Free Europe correspondent Hossein Aryan noted that "there
has not been a religious dimension to the unrest" in the Middle East. This is
quickly becoming the conventional wisdom.
After years of enduring harassment and violence, Egypt’s Christians, the Copts, have seen their situation improve in recent months. The media have become more friendly to Christianity, and plans are being made to purge school textbooks of their hate messages.
The drive-by gunfire killing of six Coptic Christians in Egypt at their church on January 6, the eve of their Christmas celebration, has drawn widespread shock from the Vatican and church leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Australia.
President Obama’s June 4 speech in Cairo was just that—a speech. As commentators at home and abroad pointed out, it will take deeds to give substance to his call for “a new beginning” in relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world.