Americans of all political stripes have embraced the promotion of democracy as a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy. But this American democracy crusade has caused huge, and largely overlooked, collateral damage since the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks against the United States in 2001. The fall of authoritarian regimes throughout the greater Middle East has fueled growing persecution of minority Christian communities. The Pew Research Center has charted extensive government restrictions on non-Muslim religions in numerous countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. Pew also has gauged very high social hostilities in Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
These government restrictions and social hostilities directed against Christians are causing many to flee the region. In the early twentieth century, Christians accounted for about 20 percent of the Middle East population, but now that figure is down to only 5 percent. In the aftermath of 9/11 and the “Arab Spring,” Christian communities throughout the greater Middle East find themselves increasingly besieged. While the United States seems to notice bits and pieces of this picture, the full magnitude of the horrific Christian plight is largely ignored.