Monday, October 11, 2010

Arab Christians face political Islam threat: Vatican official

photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, white figure at center, delivers his message at the opening session of the synod of bishops from the Middle East, at the Vatican, Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. Benedict XVI has denounced "terrorist ideologies'' that spur violence in God's name as he opened a meeting of bishops from around the Middle East. The meeting runs through Oct. 24.

"This phenomenon seeks to impose the Islamic way of life on all citizens, at times using violent methods, thus becoming a threat which we must face together."

Though freedom of worship is guaranteed by the constitution in most Middle Eastern countries, certain laws and practices limited its application in some countries, he said.

"On this basis, Christians sense an uneasiness at being considered non-citizens, despite the fact that they have called these countries 'home' long before Islam."

Conditions for Christians vary from country to country in the Middle East, but the overall trend is one of an exodus from the region.

When a blogger says Christians aren't granted equal rights under Shari'a [based] ~ its 'hate speech'. The argument is 'good' Muslims think like we do in the west and 'bad' Muslims think like Al Qaeda. When the issue is far more complex than this. So you can have 'good' Muslims who strongly believe that non-Muslims should hold second class status. As Muhammad taught ~ so they would not be killed/ attacked ~ non-Muslim people's must make a deal with Muslims to live under their control or protection. But as the Koran points out this was never meant to be an easy ride ~ it goes on to say that non-Muslims must pay the Muslims a tax called the jizya ~ with willing 'submission'. If a Christian is meant to have dignity under Islamic rule ~ it is within this subjugated status. [Confused read Koran 9:29]

The Vatican has argued that these people were there before Islam ~ as were all the people Muhammad waged war against ~ and chose in the end not to convert. The war was stopped against the Jews of Arabia / after Muhammad killed 700 of their men and boys and took one of the females for himself ~ this act of aggression was stopped only when the remaining Jews made a deal to accept his subjugated or dhimmi status.

Christians throughout the Islamic world still live under this status. And you would get very few moderate Muslims speaking out agaisnt it ~ again in the absence of reason ~ they are forbidden to contradict the wishes of the Prophet. And worst many Muslims believe ~ like Al Qaeda ~ that the world should be brought under this system of law.

It good that the Vatican can bring the world's attention to the plight of Christians in the Islamic world. Maybe people will believe it coming from the Vatican.



VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The rise of political Islam in the Middle East poses a threat to Christians in the Arab world and must be faced down together, a senior Roman Catholic official told a synod of Catholic bishops on Monday.

At the two week meeting to debate how to protect minority communities in the region and encourage harmony with Muslims, the Catholic Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria, Antonios Naguib, also said that attacks against Christians were on the rise due to growing fundamentalism in the region.

"Since 1970, we have witnessed the rise of political Islam in the region, consisting of many different religious currents, which has affected Christians, especially in the Arab world," said Naguib. "This phenomenon seeks to impose the Islamic way of life on all citizens, at times using violent methods, thus becoming a threat which we must face together."

Though freedom of worship is guaranteed by the constitution in most Middle Eastern countries, certain laws and practices limited its application in some countries, he said.

Noting that Christians usually felt the negative aspects of the social and political situations in the Middle East, he called for them to be treated in a just and equal manner rather than being "merely tolerated."

"Difficulties in the relations between Christians and Muslims generally arise when Muslims do not distinguish between religion and politics," Naguib said.

"On this basis, Christians sense an uneasiness at being considered non-citizens, despite the fact that they have called these countries 'home' long before Islam."

Over the course of the meeting, about 180 bishops, mainly from the Middle East, will discuss problems for the faithful ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and strife in Iraq to radical Islamism, economic crisis and the divisions among the region's many Christian churches.

Conditions for Christians vary from country to country in the Middle East, but the overall trend is one of an exodus from the region. Christians made up around 20 percent of the region's population a century ago, but now account for about five percent and falling.

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