The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Alarmism about Arab Christians

Now that's what I call irresponsible journalism:

Even in Islamic countries not strictly run by Sharia law, pressures mount on local Christians to leave the homes they've known for centuries. Iraq's Christian sects, among the oldest Christian communities anywhere in the world, have been directly targeted by terrorist bombs, and Christians are now high on the list of those fleeing Iraq's sectarian strife. Thirty years ago, Lebanon was 60% Christian. Since then, an estimated 3.5 million Christians have emigrated, reducing the country's Christian population percentage to barely 25%. And in the Palestinian territories, direct and indirect pressures have also led to an increasing Christian exodus. One striking result: Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and once a predominantly Christian Arab community now has an overwhelming Muslim majority.

Few people seem prepared to connect the dots. Some American evangelical groups like the Washington-based International Christian Concern try to raise the alarm. And America's Copts, especially those based in the New York area, actively lobby against the legal and social discrimination that face their Egyptian co-religionists. Yet most mainstream church groups seem to ignore the threat.

Where do you start? Iraq's Christian sects have run into trouble recently, especially since the US invasion sparked off a civil war and Saddam Hussein is no longer around to protect them via Tariq Aziz (or, to look at it another way, at least back then they were more equally repressed.) As for the percentage of Lebanon's Christians, it's always been controversial. They've been the politically dominant group until recently (despite being a minority today) and the constitution is still siding with them by giving them the presidency. I suspect their supposed exodus from Lebanon should be blamed on the civil war (and the fact that more of them can afford to emigrate than the other sects). And I wonder what these "indirect and direct pressures" he's talking about on Palestinian Christians. The Israeli occupation perhaps?

You should read the whole thing to see how much it all stinks. Trust a warmongering tabloid like the New York Sun Daily News (edit: my mistake! The Sun is better than that.) to run this. Richard Chesnoff, you're really really crap.