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The Catholic Historical Review 89.3 (2003) 536-537

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I nuovi perseguitati: Indagine sulla intolleranza anticristiana nel nuevo secolo del martirio. By Antonio Socci. (Casale Montferrato: Edizioni Piemme, 2002. Pp. 160. € 8,90 paperback.)

This book is concerned with the persecution of Christians in our times mainly because of Communism and Islam as a graph at the end of the book indicates. While the book includes an introduction and a conclusion with five chapters between them, the focus is more on Islam than on Communism. According to the author, the director of 30 Giorni, an international review, the followers of Islam, especially its fundamentalists, have been responsible for the slaughter of most of the persecuted Christians.

What is particularly disturbing are the statistics about the quarter of a billion Christians who are at risk every year in geographical areas like Africa, America, Arabia, and Asia, specifically in countries like Algeria, Burma, China, Colombia, East Timor, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, among others. Socci's statistics are taken from the World Christian Encyclopedia published by Oxford University Press in 2001. That he comes up with 160,000 victims in one year, not to mention at least 600 missionaries who were killed in the decade or so from 1990, underscores the extent of the persecution.

While two-thirds of the seventy million Christians killed in the history of Christianity have perished in the twentieth century alone, the author attributes this mainly to the Nazis and the Communists. However, in these days after World War II and the Cold War, the slaughter is due to Moslem extremists as is clear from their refusal to tolerate Christians even in Moslem states where they proclaim freedom of religion. Like Saudi Arabia, according to Socci, such Moslems do not tolerate even the construction of a church in their countries.

Certainly, the effect of the book's evidence leads to a denigration of Moslems who make up many of the immigrants seeking access into European countries, especially Italy. In this sense, the book can be viewed as a xenophobic tract for Italians and one that is not unlike what Daniel Pipes has written, Militant Islam Reaches America (2002), relative to the threat for Americans coming from extremists among Moslems. While Socci is on target regarding Saudi Arabia, the [End Page 536] historical evidence is that, in a number of countries in which Moslems are in the majority, Christians are tolerated with freedom to practice their religion as "People of the Book."

Vincent A. Lapomarda, S.J
College of the Holy Cross



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