Copt Killings Heighten Christian Alarm

January 7, 2010

Author: Staff Writer

Source: United Press International

Drive-by Muslim gunmen killed seven Christians near Luxor as they left a midnight mass for the Coptic Christmas Wednesday night.

Days earlier, Christians across northern Iraq were attacked by Muslim zealots over the Yuletide season, as they have been since Iraq collapsed into sectarian chaos in 2003.

The Middle East is the birthplace of Christianity and home to some of the most ancient sects. But across the Muslim-dominated region, Christians are on the run.

There is no definitive figure for the number of Christians in the region, but it is estimated to be at most 10 million out of a total population of more than 400 million.

A region that was 20 percent Christian a century ago is now about 2 percent -- and that's dropping fast.