You might expect that the murder of Christians would excite particular horror in countries of Christian heritage. Yet almost the opposite seems to be true. Even amid the current slew of Islamist barbarities, the killing of 72 people, 29 of them children, on Easter Day in Lahore, stands out. So does the assault in Yemen in which nuns were murdered and a priest was kidnapped and then, apparently, crucified on Good Friday. But the coverage tends to downplay such stories — there has been much less about Lahore than Brussels, though more than twice as many died — or at least their religious element.
The BBC correspondent in Lahore, Shazheb Jillani, was at pains to emphasise that the victims were not solely Christians but ‘simply Pakistani citizens enjoying a day out in the park with their children’, as if that made it worse. Western European politicians rarely protest about the plight of Christians in Muslim lands or offer to help them. Such Christians are perhaps regarded as a bit of a nuisance in countries Islam dominates.
The Jewish experience should warn us how insidious this way of turning the victims into the problem can be. Hatred of Christianity — as of Judaism — is central to the Islamist creed. In our secular societies in the West, we congratulate ourselves on our lack of zeal, and think that if we stay out of religious disputes, the angel of death will not select us. But the events in Brussels are a reminder that studied neutrality makes you weaker, and no safer.
This is an extract from Charles Moore's Notes, available from tomorrow.