The United States says it is "deeply concerned" by what appears to be a rising number of attacks on Christian believers in parts of the Middle East and Africa.
The State Department on January 4 condemned religiously motivated violence, and said the Obama administration had been disturbed by a recent series of attacks against Christians in Iraq, Egypt, and Nigeria.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley called for the governments of those countries to bring the perpetrators of attacks on Christians to justice.
"We condemn all violence that is based on religion or ethnicity or any similar political violence," Crowley said.
"Obviously, we are deeply concerned about what seems to be an increasing trend."
In Alexandria, Egypt, on January 1, a suicide bomber killed 21 Coptic Christians outside a church, while nearly 50 Christians were killed during a late October church siege in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, that was claimed by Al-Qaeda.
A radical Muslim sect in Nigeria has claimed numerous recent attacks on Christian churches.
compiled from agency reports