I read two articles this morning that examined the challenges facing Arab-Christians. Both pieces highlighted the fact that the affairs of Christians in the Middle East are finally gaining some international recognition. The first was The Economist article "Hail to the King," which detailed a meeting His Majesty King Abdullah had with Christian evangelicals in Washington, D.C.:
The king did his best to accentuate the positive in relations between Abraham’s quarrelsome children. After deploring the destruction of Christian churches in Iraq — "breaking with a 1,400-year-old tradition of Christian-Muslim friendship," as he put it, a tad optimistically — he briefed luminaries of the religious right on his efforts to develop Christian pilgrimage sites and look after Jordanian Christians.
It went down well. "We are saying to King Abdullah, we support you, we pray for you, we can learn a lot from you," says Richard Cizik, a vice-president of the National Association of Evangelicals
The second was an editorial in today’s Washington Post by Robert Novak. The commentary examines the plight of Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank village of Aboud:
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, D.C., is taking an increased interest in the desperate plight of Christians in the Holy Land — to the point of politely and privately asking for help from George W. Bush. Immediately at stake is the West Bank village of Aboud, whose Christian roots go back two millennia, and which now is threatened by Israel’s security barrier.
"I am afraid that what is happening in the Holy Land is that we’re losing the presence of the Christian community," Cardinal McCarrick told me. As leader of his faith in the nation’s capital, he seeks friends on both sides of any political divide. Accordingly, the Cardinal told me the West Bank’s Christians are endangered by Palestinians (particularly since Hamas’ election victory). But there is no question for the Holy Land Christian Society, seeking to save their co-religionists, that water-hungry Jewish settlers benefit from the security wall.
While we are currently facing — at least according to some analysts — a cultural war between Islam and the West, I’m glad to see that despite being in the midst of this mayhem, the challenges currently facing Eastern Christians are not being neglected. Jordanian blogger Rami has an interesting commentary on the subject. Make sure to read his post.
Asharq Alawsat article
ولكن كارول صحافية وتقوم بمهمة اعلامية؟
ـ اختطافها خطأ. من المؤكد انه خطأ ويجب الافراج عنها. سمعت من مصادر محايدة انها امرأة جيدة وطيبة، واتمنى الافراج عنها.
Not true. No one has called either my mom or sister that. No one I know has been labelled a whore for not being veiled. I never heard that anywhere. What I did hear is pressure applied to get women to veil and how there would be automatic judgment that either the woman was not religious or non-Muslim.
Any person who would say that, in any case, would get my fist shoved down their throat. Before the Iraq war, if a woman was called a whore for not veiling she would have likely punched that person’s lights out.
But I digress. I want to talk about Arab Christians. I think foreign coverage of them won’t do any good. I have noticed recently in Egypt, for example, the heavy emphasis government-controlled media exerts on showing that Copts are as much Egyptians as anyone else. For the most part, this is viewed as caving into external pressures. But it isn’t.
Most governments in the Arab World realize that the Christian communities are viable, valuable communities. I think there should be an Arab League initiative to have Arab countries rework their educational systems so that such affairs are treated with respect and compassion.
Everything had to do with education, that’s where we should start to lick the problem. Just outrageous what the Arabs have become. All in the last 25 years. You can thank the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran for beginning the downward spiral.
“Extremes in nature equal ends produce; In man they join to some mysterious use.”
Isn’t it interesting how the two extremes are so very close together. A friend of ours relayed a nice story of the horseshoe-like nature of political discourse — the further out you go the more you head back towards one another. I wonder if they are as aware of it as we, stuck in the middle, are.
Too bad the only culture war really going on is one being pressed by people that would label you as a whore for not dressing head to foot in black and covering your face. This is what may have started out as 5% of the Arab world, then successfully used hatred and false claims of persicution to recruit another maybe 10-15%, trying to claim they speak for the other 80% of the Muslims, who if they go along with it at all, do so because its easier to believe the lie of blaming the West, than take a hard look at the real causes of many of their problems. Who do I know this? Because its the same tactic being used by about 5% of the religious fundimentals in the US, to recruit another 10-15% of gullible evangelicals, into believing there is a vast conspiracy to destroy Christianity, and most of the other 80% of the population don’t actually think its true. However, a lot of them will side with the people claiming its about religion, over those claiming it has nothing to do with religion, and is about nothing but **power**. Why? Because most of the later are the ones the fundies are pointing fingers at and claiming are trying to destroy them.
The analysts are getting their news from people that presume all Arabs side with terrorism, don’t know any more about Islam than they do about their own religion and quote apologist websites and jihadi propoganda to support their analysis of the situation. This ironically just helps the lunatics that started this to recruit *more* of the general populous, who didn’t fall for the BS the first time. It frustrates the hell out of me how similar the situations are and how blind the gung-ho US administration is to the fact that they are just less violent than the jihadi, but their tactics and, in a broad sense, philosophies of authoritarianism and the power to dictate their own self serving false morality to their own people are so unbelievably similar.