Friday, November 02, 2001 Two decades of growing influence by Islamist-oriented movements have altered this picture. Outright persecution remains rare. In Iran, for instance, Christians hold reserved seats in parliament, where they are sworn into office on the Bible. By tradition, Egypt's president uses his right to appoint members of parliament to top up Christian representation. By law, Lebanon's president is always a Christian. Pakistan's endemic sectarian strife has more often been directed at the Ahmadi and Shia Muslim minorities than at Christians.

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