Not only are many Western secularists totally indifferent to the plight of Christians and other religious minorities under Islam—they inadvertently exacerbate it, thanks to the Muslim penchant to conflate Western behavior with Christianity.
Thus Charlie Hebdo’s satirical caricatures of Muhammad are now being pinned on the Christian faith by Muslims who seem not to realize that the magazine habitually pokes fun at Christ, Moses, and all other religious figures.
For example, in the above picture from Palestinian territories, protesters hold up a sign with images of the Muslim gunmen who murdered a dozen people at Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices on January 7. The caption says, “Expect more from the champions of Islam, O you slaves of the Cross” (bold in original).
“Slaves of the Cross” is a common epithet Islam uses to describe Christians, past and present. In August 2012, jihadi groups issued leaflets in Egypt calling on “all brothers and sisters” to “kill or physically attack the enemies of the religion of Allah—the Christians in all of Egypt’s provinces, the slaves of the Cross, Allah’s curse upon them…”
Interpreting Charlie Hebdo’s actions as “Christian,” Muslims around the Islamic world have naturally attacked Christian minorities in the context of “collective punishment.”
In Nigeria, Muslim mobs burned down a number of churches and pastors’ homes in response to the Muhammad caricatures. At least 10 people were killed in the clashes; pastors in the capital Niamey said anyone associated with churches—anyone exposed as Christian—was targeted.
In Pakistan, some 300 Muslim students armed with iron bars and sticks attacked a Christian boys’ school in “retaliation” to Charlie Hebdo, leaving four Christians injured.
Regarding this attack, Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO Center for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement, said:
It is very sad that Islamic radicals attack Pakistani Christians because of Charlie Hebdo. Christians condemn the blasphemous cartoons. It is a shame that even after 67 years since the birth of Pakistan, Christians have not yet been considered Pakistani citizens, but are seen as “Western allies”…. Whenever incidents occur in western countries, the faithful Pakistanis are attacked. Christians, who are already living under constant fear for their lives, become even more vulnerable.
All this is a reminder that, from an Islamic perspective, peoples are not classified according to nationality but religion. Thus, it is irrelevant that those who insult the prophet of Islam are French, or European, or American. To many Muslims, all those terms are indicative of “Christians”—since they were all once Christian and remain so in the Muslim consciousness.
Nor is this the first time Pakistani Christians get attacked because of Western—“Christian”—actions. Back in April 2011 Fox News reported that:
Life on any given day for Pakistani Christians is difficult. But members of Pakistan’s Christian community say now they’re being persecuted for U.S. drone attacks on Islamic militants hiding on the border with Afghanistan. The minority, which accounts for an estimated one percent of the country’s 170 million population, says because its faith is strongly associated with America, it is targeted by Muslims. “When America does a drone strike, they come and blame us,” [said] Faisal Massi, a 25-year old student from Sau Quarter, a Christian colony in Islamabad. “They think we belong to America. It’s a simple mentality.”
Such is Islam’s “simple mentality” indeed: Years before the world heard of “ISIS,” Christian minorities in Iraq were being targeted and killed “over their religious ties with the West.”
This sort of collective punishment goes back to the medieval era. Historian Robert Irwin asserts that “Christians living under Muslim rule suffered during the crusading period. They were suspected of acting as spies or fifth columns for the Franks and later the Mongols as well.” Why? Because the Crusaders and Copts shared the same religion: they must be allies. Indeed, according to Coptic chronicles, the “magnanimous” Saladin had many Christians in Egypt crucified in response to his Crusader enemies. 
In short, as the world shrinks—and as Muslims continue to conflate the West with Christianity—the reasons to persecute Christian minorities in the Islamic world grow: nationality and geography no longer matter; shared religion, even if nominal, makes all “Christians” liable for one another—that is, makes the vulnerable and easily accessible Christian minorities of the Muslim world answerable for the actions of the remote secularists of the West.
Jonathan Riley-Smith, ed., The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 242.
Adel Guindy, Hikayat al-Ihtilal, in translation, “Stories of the Occupation: Correcting Misunderstandings,” (Cairo: Middle East Freedom Forum, 2009), 88.
Reprinted with author’s permission from VIE