US worried by ‘trend’ of Christian attacks

 AFP – Christians are joined by Muslims during a rally in the mixed working class district of Shubra in the …
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States said Tuesday it is “deeply concerned” about the rise in attacks against Christians in parts of the Middle East and Africa .
“We are certainly aware of a recent string of attacks against Christians from Iraq to Egypt to Nigeria ,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said. “We are deeply concerned about what seems to be an increasing trend.”
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Crowley , speaking to reporters, said the US State Department condemns all violence based on religion or ethnicity and includes such attacks in its annual human rights report.
But he added: “I’d be very wary at this point about… making any sweeping statements about whether what’s happened in Iraq has a bearing on what’s happening in other countries such as Egypt or Nigeria.
“These are all being investigated,” he said.
“There are pressures on minority groups in these countries, and we would hope and expect that … in those respective governments, we’ll fully investigate these attacks and bring those responsible to justice,” he said.
“That’s what… for example, the people of Egypt are rightly demanding — a credible, thorough investigation and those responsible brought to justice.”
In the past few days, anti-Christian attacks left 21 people dead in Egypt , two slain in Iraq and 86 slaughtered in Nigeria .
On October 31, militants stormed a church in central Baghdad , leaving 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force personnel dead, in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda’s local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq.