Pope Francis is defending Christians in the Middle East and reaching out to the leaders of the Muslim world who understand the threat which lies in preaching radical religious views.
Christians lived in the Middle East before Muslims began to appear in the region, which is a point worth remembering. The number of Christians has been decreasing for years. Just around the middle of the 20th century, they comprised a double-digit percentage of society in numerous countries, often with the status of elites. Yet in the last two decades, the departure of Christians has reached such a rapid pace that there is a threat that they will vanish from the region or be relegated to only a few remaining pockets.
There are many reasons for this.
One of them is demographics. Muslims are having more children and paradoxically, belief itself is a factor. Christians also often have relatives already living in the West, with many of them having already chosen to migrate from the Middle East. This makes it easier for remaining Middle Eastern Christians to migrate and also leaves them better prepared to live in the West.
At the same time, Christians have a legitimate fear of their Muslim neighbors, especially during times of chaos and war that are not exclusive to Syria and Iraq. The West influenced the radicalization of Muslims, but it is not interested in the fates of those which it is affecting — the Middle East’s Christians.
Pope Francis, however, is caring for them.