This is a truly disturbing book, and yet I would consider it all but mandatory reading for anyone who takes their Christian faith seriously.
Western Christians can be tempted to complain about the apparent sidelining of Christianity from the public sphere through aggressive secularism, but this book reminds contemporary Christians in the West that there are those of their brothers and sisters around the world who are the subjects of real persecution that involves violence, official interference and forced conversions away from the Christian faith. That this continues in the 21st century is simply dumbfounding, yet Rupert Shortt reports the stories of many individuals and groups who have suffered (and some killed) because of their Christian faith.
From the back cover:
On October 29, 2005, three Indonesian schoolgirls were beheaded as they walked to school – targeted because they were Christians. Like them, many other church members around the world face violence or discrimination for their faith. Why is this tragedy so widely ignored?
In Christianophobia, Rupert Shortt investigates the shocking treatment of Christian on several continents, revealing that they are oppressed in greater numbers than those of any other faith. The extent of official collusion is also exposed. Even governments that have promised to protect religious minorities routinely break their pledges, with life-shattering consequences.
Unlike their Muslim counterparts, young Christians don’t easily become radicalized but tend to resist non-violently or keep a low profile. This has enabled politicians and the media to play down a problem of huge dimensions. Shortt demonstrates how freedom of belief is the canary in the mine for liberty in general. Published at a time when the fundamental importance of faith on the world stage is at last being recognized, this book will be essential reading anyone interested in the rights of people to believe what they wish, no matter where, or among whom, they live.