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Most of the world's Christians are not engaged in stand-offs with intolerant secularists over such small matters.In the West, Christianity may have increasingly become embraced by the middle class and abandoned by the working class.On Thursday, Meriam Ibrahim's eight-month ordeal finally ended when she was flown out of the country to Rome where she, and her new baby daughter, met the Pope in the Vatican.But it has been a different story for the 3,000 Christians of Mosul who were driven from their homes in northern Iraq last week by Islamist fanatics who broadcast a fatwa from the loudspeakers of the city's mosques ordering them to convert to Islam, submit to its rule and pay a religious levy, or be put to death if they stayed.Over the past decade she has made multiple trips to Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, Israel and the West Bank and also written from Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, South Korea and China.She is the author of Willful Blindness: the Bush Administration and Iraq, a book of her columns from 2002-2004.Most people in the West would be surprised by the answer to the question: who are the most persecuted people in the world?
Why is this in a culture that is happy to make public protest against the ferocity of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza or the behaviour of Russia in Ukraine?
But elsewhere the vast majority of Christians are poor, many of them struggling against antagonistic majority cultures, and have different priorities in life.
The paradox this produces is that, as Allen points out, the world's Christians fall through the cracks of the left-right divide – they are too religious for liberals and too foreign for conservatives.
The most violent anti-Christian pogrom of the early 21st century saw as many as 500 Christians hacked to death by machete-wielding Hindu radicals in Orissa, India, with thousands more injured and 50,000 made homeless.
In Burma, Chin and Karen Christians are routinely subjected to imprisonment, torture, forced labour and murder.