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Saving Arab Christians in the Middle East
The recent massacre of Christians in Egypt by radical Islamic extremists is another reminder of the precarious place that Christians hold in the Muslim World and the Middle East. My column this week, written before the massacre, addresses how Israel is doing more for Christians than the Arab World which claims to support them
By Ray Hanania
My column this week in the Arab News, written before the massacre, addresses how Israel is doing more for Christians than the Arab World which claims to support them.
Religious Islamic extremists massacred 45 Christians in Egypt as they were celebrating Palm Sunday and the beginning of the Easter week in the Middle East.
Although Egypt’s President al-Sisi is doing everything he can to defend all of the citizens of Egypt, the biased mainstream news media continues to view the massacre of Christians as a political criticism of al-Sisi’s government rather than as evidence of growing anti-Christian trends in the Arab and Muslim Worlds.
In my Arab News column, I write about how Israel is supporting the expansion of Christian interests in the region, providing substantial financial support to an Evangelical Christian group to launch a radio station that will speak to Christian interests.
In contrast, little is being done to support Christians in the Arab and Muslim World and Muslims angrily denounce any attempt to distinguish the needs and concerns of Christians, claiming to be offended by the impression that Christians in the Middle East are victimized by Muslims.
They don’t want to talk about and get angry with the topic is broached. Burying their heads in the sand is their primary solution to most problems that plague the Middle East, unless they can identify someone else to blame.
Christians continue to be persecuted and although the largest Christian group in the Middle East is the Coptic Orthodox Christian in Egypt, there are large communities of Christians still in war-torn Iraq, war-torn Lebanon and terrorism controlled Syria. Christians receive most protections in Jordan and have very few rights in the Gulf countries.
A Muslim who seeks to convert Christians to Islam is encouraged and supported and defended in the West. But a Christian who seeks to convert Muslims to Christianity is stoned to death and murdered with little repercussions. The hypocrisies are unlimited but Christians are not allowed to discuss these issues in public debates, and the topics are excluded at Arab conferences which focus almost exclusively on Israel’s atrocities.
Christians are abused in Israel, as are Muslims, but the fact that they are also abused in the Arab and Muslim Worlds creates an anger among many Muslims.
That needs to change. We need to have an honest, full and open discussion about the oppression of Christians not just in Israel but in the Arab and Muslim Worlds, too.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com www.arabnews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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