Giles and Electe, who anxiously aspired to martyrdom, and who were only lay-brothers, had appeared to St. Francis to be more fit to be sent to the Saracens than even those of the clergy, and they hastened to go into Africa with several others. What chiefly animated the zeal of brother Giles, as the author of his life remarks, was his having heard that the Saracens treated with great cruelty those Christians who spoke ill of the law of Mahomet. When he reached Tunis with a party of missionaries, he generously preached the faith in public, and this continued for some time. A person who was looked up to among the Saracens for his great wisdom, having come forth from his retreat, told the people that they ought to put to the sword all those infidels who spoke against the law of their prophet. Giles and his companions were delighted at the prospect of an early martyrdom; but the Christians with whom they had their domicile, fearing lest they might be included in the massacre, took away these preachers and compelled them to go on board a vessel in the harbor, and did not permit them again to land. As they did not cease addressing the Mahometans who crowded to the sea-shore, with a view to induce them to embrace the faith of Jesus Christ,—their desire to sacrifice their lives for His glory being so ardent,—the Christian residents hastened to have them removed to Europe. Thus seeing that even their fellow-believers were opposed to their views, they returned to Italy.— from The Life and Legends of Saint Francis of Assisi, by Father Candide Chalippe
Starting in about the 1940s, Christianity in the middle-east has been in a particularly sharp decline. Modern nation-building, promoted by the secular West, has caused untold hardship for the Christians in those places. Wars and revolutions now taking place are making things far worse for them. Our secularist leaders seem to have no pity for Christians, who are seen more as problem rather than souls in need of mercy and protection.