FMC Blog: Free Speech Zone

Muslims Must Protect Arab Christians

By Imam Kamal Nawash and Pierre Maroun

The last 10 years have not been easy for Arab Christians. Numerous events, including the U.S. invasion of Iraq has inspired the belief that the "Christian West" has declared war on Muslims of the Middle East. Many Muslims see military operations against Muslim majority nations by the United States as religious in nature because the United States is viewed by many Muslims as a Christian nation.

Unfortunately, some radical Muslims have attacked Christian Arabs in retaliation for American military attacks against majority Muslim nations such as Iraq. Most notably, churches have been attacked in Egypt and Iraq by extremists who now view their Christian countrymen with suspicion because they share the same religion as the Majority of Americans.

In addition, there are allegations that certain dictatorships in the Middle East have allowed attacks against churches in their respective countries in order to bolster government arguments that the attacks are done by Islamic extremists and that the oppressive governments are needed to fight those extremists. This allegation was made against Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.

The relationship between Arab Christians and Muslims has not always been tense. In fact, the history of Christian/Muslim relations in the Arab world has been historically remarkable and beneficial for the entire world. For example, in the early days of Islam, Arab and Middle Eastern Christians translated scholarly Greek philosophy and religious work into Arabic. This, in fact, helped propel the Muslim nations into a global power with advances in science, mathematics, astronomy, and arts while Europe was still sinking in what is known as the dark ages.

In return, some hundreds of years later Arab Christians translated scholarly Muslim work in the sciences; mathematics, astronomy, medicine and the humanities from Arabic into Latin and Greek, which helped kick off the European renaissance and transformed Europe into a leading world power. This wealth of knowledge could not have existed had it not been for the unique Islamo-Christian relationship.

Most of the Arab Muslims in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, an area known as the Levant, have Christian ancestry. Historically, one of the reasons that Christian/Muslim relations have generally been good and productive is due to the fact that most Arab Muslims had Christian relatives. The close family relations between Middle Eastern Muslims and Christians have historically produced unusual results. Thus, during the height of the Muslim empire, it was not unheard of for a Christian to be a general in a Muslim army under the Caliphate.

In modern times, Arab Christians continue to be leaders in the Arab world. In the early 20th century, the leaders of Arab nationalism were Christians. The creator of the Baath Party (Renaissance) in Iraq and Syria was a Christian named Michel Aflaq. Christians such as George Habash and Nayef Hawatmeh were among the major leaders and founders of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

The second in command in Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a Christian by the name of Tarek Aziz. In Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority Christians hold high positions in governments. In Lebanon, Christians hold the highest position where the President of the country must be a Christian. Even Arab countries that are 100% Muslims rely heavily on Arab Christians. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and UAE depend heavily on Lebanese Christians in everything related to commerce, construction, media, as well as in the bridging of relations between East and West. In the United States, the founders of Arab American organizations which defend Muslims, and who advocate for Arab civil rights are mainly Christians i.e. James Zogby, James Abourezk, Khalil Jahshan and Naila Asali.

Thus, the recent attacks on Christian churches in Iraq and Egypt are absolutely unusual to the local Muslims, and they are indeed unacceptable and rejected by all true Muslims worldwide. Accordingly, it is the duty of every Muslim to protect and preserve Middle Eastern Christians whether they are Chaldean, Maronite, Copts or Orthodox for these Christians are part of the main fabric of Middle Eastern societies and not intruders as some radicals have been trying to portray them.

According to the Holy Qura'an (Quran), Muslims must defend and protect all people who live amongst them. Middle Eastern Christians don't just live with Muslims; they are family. The number of Christians in the Middle East has been dwindling, in part, due to attacks by radicals. This must be stopped. Middle Eastern Christians must be preserved because Christians have historically been essential to the prosperity of the Middle East. Therefore, more Muslim leaders must voice their support for their Christian neighbors and vow to protect them with all available means as they would protect their own families.

Middle Eastern Christians are precious jewels in the Middle East. They were the first followers of Jesus Christ who Muslims refer to as Issa Ibn Maryam, or the son of the Virgin Mary who is considered by the Holy Qura'an as the purest woman in the history of mankind. Furthermore, Middle Eastern Churches are the first churches to be established anywhere in the world. After all, the Middle East is the cradle of Christianity and Middle Eastern Christians are a living history.

Please contribute to our effort here: http://www.freemuslims.org/support/donate.php

Kamal Nawash, President
Free Muslims Coalition

Pierre A. Maroun, President
American Lebanese Center for Cultural Research

For More information, visit www.freemuslims.org

You May Publish this Article

Posted June 28, 2011 by Kamal Nawash

Comments

wy not evry one jews and other

religoiun all religoiuns
does t matter color race fat thin
what ever its a big grand or a mini
as long they repect you and what you do in this world.

Posted June 29, 2011 by alberto gorin

Praise the Lord for you insight into this predicament between Muslim regimes and Arab Christians. At a time when many of us Christians are open to a more meaningful dialogue with Muslims, this violence against Christians and their churches effectively blocks any productive dialogue

Posted June 29, 2011 by Whoolery

This is the biggest bunch of baloney save from the "quran" itself I have read in a long time. "muslims" because of "islam" hate; they are raised on hate; the "quran", they practice hate; because of the "quran"; they are without reason; because of the "quran". There is not but one God, in that "muhammad" had it right; the only problem is that he made up his "god" by borrowing the main "god" of the pagan Arabs from the Kaaba (allah), and tried to make it the same "god" as the Jewish and Christian "God". They are not the same. Until "islam" is outed as the fraud it is, no amount of paint, or whitewashing will make any difference. A lie is a lie, is a lie and no amount of makeup will make it true. A bad tree can not bare good fruit. Please "muslims" wake up read your own "quran" and then read the books that came before. One book is incoherent and convoluted, and the other reasoned and prophetic. Do any of you have any reasoning skills left, or do you not trust God to prove Himself?

Posted June 29, 2011 by rocketman21

Posted June 29, 2011 by abu afak

Islamic Nations Slaughter and Enslave Christians
By Tom Barrett (07/10/05)
http://www.americandaily.com/article/8172

THERE IS NOT ONE CHRISTIAN NATION ON EARTH WHERE MUSLIMS ARE PERSECUTED. Yet in 83% of nations where the majority of the population are Muslims, there is systematic government persecution of Christians. (See "Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries" in the Resources section below.) This persecution includes imposing the death penalty for sharing the Christian faith with a Muslim; national laws prohibiting conversion from Islam to Christianity; destruction of churches; and murder or expulsion of Christian missionaries. Even in the few predominantly Muslim countries where the government does not openly participate in the persecution, it ignores and even encourages illegal persecution by Muslims against Christians.

I spent hours going through the well-documented profiles of the 46 countries listed in the report mentioned above. Of these, 6 did not have significant Muslim populations. Of the 39 with a strong Muslim majority, only 7 could be considered to be either neutral or tolerant toward their Christian minorities.

If the United States were to treat its roughly two million Muslims with one-tenth of the violence and humiliation that these Islamic nations heap on their Christians, the worldwide outcry would be immediate, and justified. Why, then, does the "Community of Nations," including the United States, turn a deaf ear to the cries of the persecuted Christians in Muslim nations?

The laws of most of these Islamic nations give lip service to religious freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth. In most of the countries I researched, the death penalty was common for converting from Islam to Christianity (or any other religion). Christians receive no protection from these governments when they are persecuted; indeed, most often the governments themselves are the persecutors. Children of Christians are stolen from their parents so that they can be raised as Muslims. Speaking about Christianity to a Muslim can result in beatings, long prison sentences and even death.

The most urgent situation demanding our attention today is in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population of any non-Arab country. There Islamic fundamentalists have promised a bloodbath of Christians before Christmas. This is no idle threat; in 1996 Islamic fundamentalists slaughtered 3,000 Christians in East Timor. More recently, a group called Laskar Jihad, which hails Osama bin Laden as its hero, slaughtered thousands of Christians with the help of government troops...."

Posted June 29, 2011 by abu afak

Middle Eastern Christians are precious jewels in the Middle East. They were the first followers of Jesus Christ (and they were almost all Jews) who Muslims refer to as Issa Ibn Maryam (almost all of them were Jews), or the son of the Virgin "Merry" who (was Jewish and) is considered by the Holy Qura'an as the purest woman in the history of mankind. (even though she was a Jew)

It's telling that Jews were not mentioned even once in this entire article.

Posted June 29, 2011 by Ron

Please add to the article regarding Muslim-Christian relations the following quotation from the Qur'an:

"The closest in friendship to the believers are those who say:' We are Christians". For among them are priests and monks, and they are not arrogant" ( The Table, chapter 5, verse 82 )

Posted June 30, 2011 by Majid Fakhry

[al-Ma'idah 5:51.8]
O ye who believe! Take NOT the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.
(Pickthall)

Posted July 01, 2011 by abu afak

Abu Afak

You are dishonest. I am a Christian Palestinian and I assure you I would rather live with Muslims than Jews. In Palestine, Christians have reached the highest positions of power. Israel on the other hand stole our land and turned us into refuges.

George Khory

Posted July 02, 2011 by George

i would like to respond to George Khory

1,israel stole the land is bull crapp
that means jews under the gas chmabers
took arms went to palestine destroyed them.bullol crappppp

2,living under the muslims.
who ? hamas islamic jihad al qada liberation front fatach taliban regime of iran ?????

we are in to refudgees.since when ? 1948 ?
can arabs not solve there own refudgees.
after 63 years.

where do you live now mister George Khory ?

Posted July 03, 2011 by alberto gorin

Posted July 03, 2011 by abu afak

I'm so glad I found the Free Muslims Coalition. I post your articles for my friends on Facebook to show my fellow Americans that there is a difference between radicals and peaceful Muslims.

Posted July 03, 2011 by Karla Marie

Abu Afak


My family moved from West Jerusalem to Bethlehem in 1948. My family is from a Christian Village in Jerusalem that was ethnically cleansed by Jews. It is the village where John the Baptist was born. Our house was given to a Jewish family from Spain. We escaped and went to Bethlehem. We tried to return numerous times but Israel has not allowed us.

As to Bethlehem, Yasser Arafat was a huge supporter of Christians. His wife was a Christian. Contrary to your statements, the mayor has always been a Christian and is a Christian now.
I left Bethlehem to the U.S. not because of Muslims but because Israel built the wall and choked the city. We are unable to work .

If Palestinians Christians had a choice between Israel and Palestine, 99% would choose Palestine

Posted July 03, 2011 by George Khory

A useless banter. It begins with the premise that Arab Christians in Egypt are suffering civil violence due to the United States' invasion of Iraq. (Now at least we know who to blame). Since a portion of the public believes that the USA invaded Iraq at the orders of Israel, well, do the math.
Does the Iraq invasion also explain why the average worker in Egypt earns $25,00 per week? I would blame that 1000x more then anything the USA did (or is capable of doing).
Why are we surprised when Muslims blow up Christians? Muslims blow each other up 10,000x more often then they blow up Christians.
I have tried to be somewhat empathetic in the past but today I shall take the gloves off.
The Muslim religion belongs in the stone age--where it originated from. It is an exercise in mass-hypnosis, the words "Judgment Day" appearing repeatedly on every conceivable topic. Not that Judaism or Christianity claim prize for being much more evolved, they are just far less dangerous to non-believers [read: me].
The historical brotherhood lesson was: a) exaggerated; b) left out significant negative events and c) is moot as of 1907 when the worldwide annual sales of automobiles rose from 5,000 in 1906 to 75,000 in 1907. The mixing of Islam and oil turned out to be as volatile and dangerous as splitting the atom.

Posted July 03, 2011 by Trollstein

The use of examples such as the Saddam regime or Baathist origins and power in Syria are mind-numbingly useless--in the proving or disproving of any material moral argument(s). The Baathist party was/is in theory a strictly secular progressive movement but in practice became a satellite of the Soviet Union. (Saddam BTW: was the only despot (and there were many in Asia, the ME and So/Cent/America) who succeeded in sucking money and weapons from BOTH the Soviets and the USA.)
As far as the PLO:
I repeat what I said in parag. 1. Additionally, people too easily forget or actively disregard the fact that various Christian sects maintain a spiritual claim on Jerusalem.
This (minimally) includes all the orthodox varieties as well as the Vatican. We are told that Jerusalem is the third holiest place in Islam but it is accepted as the second most holy place in Christianity by certain sects, including the Vatican--with about a billion followers. To the Arab Christians of "Palestine", I would not be surprised if Jerusalem is their first most holy place. Thus, there has been a 'undertow' of power whereby various Christian groups have been fighting a proxy war against Israeli control of Jerusalem with the Muslims as mercenaries. (Christian Arab) Hanan Ashrawi nearly single-handedly agitated thus present situation. When there was peace, freedom of movement and wide spread employment, she created a near civil-war condition.
I also disagree, as a matter of history that "most of the Arab Muslims" from "Levant, have Christian ancestry".

Posted July 03, 2011 by Trollstein

Lets gets some fact right, Muslims have been killing there own soon after the death of there own Prophet. Muslims killed the Prophets own family and grand children, Muslims paraded the Prophets women and children through the streets and bazaars as spoils of war.Muslims beheaded the heads of the Prophets grand sons and put it on a pole. Nothing has changed since then or until now. Look at all the Muslim kingdoms each as morally corrupt as the next. Saudi Arabia, the kingdom of Bahrain are nothing more evil than any of there neighbors. Lets not forget the Crusade and the forever the Holocausts and genocides that keep taking place. Is it because of religion? No religion no war? No, this is not true either. Man is the worst of all species on earth, they lie and manipulate in the name of religion or what ever.....
Please stop sending me e-mail.

Posted July 03, 2011 by Naz Akbar

Dearest Brother Kamal,

Assalamu Alaykum.

This is so wonderful. I wish all your Muslim brothers and sisters would pay attention to your message.

Blessings,

Posted July 03, 2011 by Rabbi Sue Levy

Posted July 04, 2011 by Gman

Mr. Nawash;
You thoughts are that of a fair, honest, well educated gentleman who always cast a wary eye on coyotes dressed in vestments of religion.

Posted July 04, 2011 by Rex

Wonderful article! It paints a good picture of what true Islam is all about. I am not a Muslim, Christian, or of the Jewish Faith, but I have a deep belief in God and that He loves us all as His Children. No Father wants to see his children fight amongst each other, but rather would be very happy if they all got along harmoniously and prospered instead.
I am on Facebook and am wondering if the Free Muslim Coalition has a group set up on that site. FB is a powerful tool, and the FMC would be able to reach millions of people through that medium. It would also be far easier for me to spread your beliefs to my many friends - some of whom don't believe that there are peaceful Muslims and could learn much.

Any help finding your group on FB would be very helpful!

Much Peace,

Posted July 05, 2011 by Jay

Kamal,

Thank you. An excellent article and very sound advice. I will spread it among all my friends.

Niles

Posted July 05, 2011 by Niles

I like the balance and objectivity of this discussion. I know we have a long way to go before the world perceives Muslims for what they are, but it is discussions like this that will get us there.

Posted August 07, 2011 by work from home

I the Arab the all muslim people must protect the country living Christan people I the this is their duty.

Posted August 25, 2011 by cure hemorrhoids

Everyone must remember that there is no winning in battle or war. Muslims against Christians and vice versa leads to an unpredictable end. Why not just respect each other's faith and religion. We're living in this world not to discriminate other people. We are made by God as good as He is and we must preserve it. The Holy Books that we had; Bible and Qura'an (Quran), have the same goal, and that is to let each and everyone follow what was right and fair. I am really thankful for this post. Thanks.

Posted January 14, 2012 by Sue Almazan (necklace making fanatic)