Tag Archives: Christian Arab

Killings of Christians by Islamists Doubled in 2013

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Egyptian Copts are the largest community of Christians left in the Middle EastAccording to Open Doors, a non-denominational group that supports persecuted Christians worldwide, the official number of Christians killed for their faith around the world doubled in 2013, compared to 2012. According to the annual survey, the number of Christians killed in Syria in 2013 comes to more than the whole global total of 2012. Approximately 13 percent of the Syrian population is made up of Christians.

In the list of nations with the highest number of killings of Christians, Syria was followed by Nigeria, Pakistan, and Egypt. In its 2014 World Watch List, Somalia comes in at the top of the list— moving from fifth to second place— followed by Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Maldives, Pakistan, Islamic Republic of Iran and Yemen.

The survey conducted by Open Doors only counts the numbers of Christian who are killed, reported in the media, and confirmed. Some estimates by other surveys indicate the number exceeds 10,000 deaths. Open Doors has reported that it documented 2,123 killings, compared to the 1,201 in 2012. In 2013, 1,213 of these people were killed in Syria alone. “This is a very minimal count based on what has been reported in the media and we can confirm,” said Frans Veerman, head of research for Open Doors.

The report revealed that “Islamist extremism is the worst persecutor of the worldwide church,” adding that in 36 countries on the report’s list, radical Muslims were the key source behind these persecutions and killings. Michel Varton, head of Open Doors France, told journalists in Strasbourg, “In Syria, another war is thriving in the shadow of the civil war – the war against the church.”

The intriguing issue is that various Islamist rebel groups— including Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham brigade, and other Al-Qaeda-linked groups— are still promising minorities (particularly Christians) that they will have a peaceful life if they support them and if the Islamists come to power. It would be interesting to see an Islamist group provide an example of an Islamist state that has provided full rights for religious and ethnic minorities since the emergence of Islam. Astonishingly, these Islamists groups still emphasize that the rights of religious minorities will be preserved.

This is just another strategic tactic to take control of the states and then impose Sharia and Islamic laws, discriminate against minorities, jail and imprison non-Muslims, and persecute minorities— particularly Christians and Jews.

The first laws that they will pass when they come to power will include: Islam will be declared the sole religion of the state, the law of the land will come from the Sharia, other religions will not be recognized, Christians and other minorities will not be able to run for office, women will not be full citizens, and more. Some other, more ridiculous, Sharia laws may also be implemented, including how women cannot sit on chairs or drive any kind of transportation.

There are many examples of these types of promises made by Islamist groups before they come to power in the history of Islam. For example, the Islamist party of Iran galvanized the support of women and minorities by promising change, yet later imposed the most brutal and barbaric laws against them. These examples existed for the last 1400 years, since the rise of Islam.

Additionally, how can Christians trust the Islamists when they have been executing their own members for the sake of power and for violating Sharia and Allah’s laws?

This week, according to several national and international news outlets and activists on the ground, the Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has executed dozens of other Islamist rebels in Syria.  ISIL, an Al-Qaeda-linked group, has regained most of the territory it lost in the northeastern Raqqa province. Accordingly, approximately 100 rebel fighters from the Nusra Front— another Al-Qaeda-linked group and Ahrar al-Sham brigade— were executed after being captured by ISIL. Reuters quoted activists as saying that the rebel fighters were captured in the town of Tel Abiad, on the border with Turkey.

ISIL has launched its campaign to build an Islamist caliphate, combining Syria and Iraq through brutalizing the civilians, government forces, and rebel-held areas, while gaining territories and executing those they say have violated Sharia and Islamic law. An unnamed activist said to Reuters, “About 70 bodies, most shot in the head, were collected and sent to the Raqqa National hospital,” adding, “Many of those executed had been wounded in the fighting. The fact that Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham are ideologically similar to the ISIL did not matter.”

It seems that believing in one God, Muhammad, the Quran, and all Islamic and Sharia laws does not matter for the Islamists when it comes to gaining power.  Although, their major argument is that they respect those who believe in Allah and Muslims, history has shown that during the last thousand years what truly matters for Islamists is power and rule.

Prince Charles has decried the persecution of Christians in Islamic countries. Dr. David Curry, CEO and president of Open Doors USA, told The Blaze, “We’re going to motivate the U.S. to pay attention to this issue as a critical component of creating free societies and to support Christians wherever they may be in the world.” Now is the time to observe whether President Obama is also going to issue any statement supporting the persecuted Christians around the world.

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Christian Arabs: Historical myth

My intention – for once – is not get anyone’s ideological back up. I just want to talk about history, and it’s relationship to a new phenomenon among the so-called “Christian Arabs”, specifically those Arabs that are called “Palestinian”. I’m sorry to cloud the issue with the facts, but here’s the fact: you can’t be – by definition – a Christian Arab or, more specifically, a Christian Palestinian.

Simcha Jacobovici
Christians predate the Muslim invasion by some 600 years. Christianity, as we know, started with a group of people surrounding Jesus of Nazareth, who lived from approximately 4 BCE to 32 CE. These Jesus followers, who initially were all Jewish, grew into the worldwide “Christian” religion, which now numbers 2-3 billion people. The initial group was divided among people who saw Jesus as the long awaited Jewish Messiah, and people who saw him as a divine figure, a kind of God incarnate. The first group basically disappeared when the Roman emperor, Constantine, adopted the latter view in the 4th century.

Some 300 years later, in the first half of the 7th century, a group of Arabs from the area of Mecca in modern Saudi Arabia, declared Muhammad to be the ultimate prophet of Allah i.e., God. These “Muslims”, as they came to be known, first conquered Arabia and then fanned out, creating an empire that stretched from the borders of China and the Indian subcontinent, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Sicily, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees. In the course of building their empire, in 638 C.E., under Caliph Umar, the Islamic armies conquered the Holy Land i.e., modern Israel.

So the bedrock historical fact is that Christianity and Islam – Christians and Arabs – came face to face for the first time in the Holy Land/Palestine/Israel only in the 7th century. The incontrovertible historical fact is that the Arabs from Arabia came to the area of modern day Israel as conquerors. The Jews and the Christians, who were indigenous to the land, were the conquered. The Arabs were all Muslims. The Jews and the Christians were not, and are not, Arabs. It can’t get any simpler.

What happened next? Many Jews and Christians were butchered, some were tolerated and still others were converted to the new religion. Despite the myth of Islamic tolerance of Jews and Christians, the fact is that by Islamic law, Jews and Christians are to be tolerated but not accorded equal status to Muslims. By definition, according to Islamic law, no Arab can convert to Judaism or Christianity. Islam will not allow it. It regards any conversion out of Islam as an act of apostasy, punishable by death. In September of last year, Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, Afghan Parliament Member, stated that any Afghani citizen who converts to Christianity should be executed. So even if, 1,300 years ago, some Arab converted to Christianity, he could not have broadcast this fact, nor set up a community of Christian “Palestinians” or “Arabs”. Put simply, every community of “Christian Arabs” is by definition not Arab.

This fact is easy to ascertain. All you have to do is enter any store selling Christian trinkets in the old city of Jerusalem and ask the Christian owner: “are you an Arab?” To be politically correct, after a moment’s hesitation, he might answer “yes”. But if you press the matter, and say “I don’t mean culturally. I don’t mean do you like Hummus and do you listen to Arabic music. I simply mean; did your ancestors arrive in Israel with the conquering Arabs in the 7th century?” The answer will always be: “No. We were here before.” What this means is that the so-called “Christian Arabs” of the Palestinian community are actually descendants of Aramians, Canaanites and – yes – Jews! Even DNA confirms this ethnic link.

The trouble has been that Jewish Israelis have not realized that the Christians living among the Palestinians are actually kinfolk. They have literally driven their Christian kinsmen into the Palestinian ideological camp. For their part, some of the local Christians tried to become more Palestinian than the Palestinians, founding and joining various anti-Israel terrorist groups. But pay careful attention; these groups are never “Islamic” groups. The most radical Christians among the Palestinians have expressed their “Arab nationalism”, by creating and joining non-Islamic, non-nationalist groups. Put simply, show me a Communist Palestinian terror group, and I’ll show you a so-called “Christian Arab” group. For example, the Palestine Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), was founded by Dr. George Habash, a Christian, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) was founded by Nayef Hawatmeh, also a Christian. In other words, the Christians among the Palestinians tried to reinvent themselves as Communist Palestinians.

The irony is that, as hard as these Christians tried to earn their Palestinian Arab credentials, they could not. Why? Because, as I wrote at the outset, they’re not Arabs. They know it. Their neighbors know it. More than this, everywhere in the Arab world Christians are persecuted. For example, Egypt’s natives i.e., the Copts, are Christian. How are they treated? They have been systematically discriminated against, raped and murdered.

Gunmen Kill Coptic Christian Outside Cairo Church; 4 Dead, Including 8-Year-Old And 12-Year-Old Girls

Gunmen Kill Coptic Christian Outside Cairo Church; 4 Dead, Including 8-Year-Old And 12-Year-Old Girls

For their part, the so-called Palestinian Christians have been driven out of Bethlehem and any other town under Palestinian jurisdiction where they were the traditional majority.

But is this historical assessment relevant today? More than ever. As I write this, a new phenomenon is unfolding. The so-called Christian Arabs are coming out of the Jewish/Aramian closet, and declaring themselves as non-Arabs. The most dramatic example of this is Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek orthodox priest from Nazareth, who has become the symbol of the new phenomenon. Father Nadaf is the spiritual leader of a group of Christians living in Israel who are now reclaiming their Aramian Jewish past and fighting on the side of Israel against Islamic persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Most dramatically, Father Nadaf has called on Israeli Christian youth to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He and his associates, such as Res. Captain (IDF) Shahdi Halul, have been responsible for a 300% rise in Christian enlistment in the IDF in the past year.

Father Nadaf recently stated on Israeli state television (Channel 1) that he is seeking full integration of Israel’s 130,000 Christians into Israeli society. He’s doing this, he said, because of his people’s history, and “in light of what we see happening to Christians in Arab countries; how they are slaughtered and persecuted on a daily basis – killed and raped just because they are Christians. Does this happen in the State of Israel? No, it doesn’t!”

This new Israeli-Christian phenomenon is something that should be embraced by all people who value ethnic survival and democracy. Some of the surviving Israeli-Christian communities still speak the language of the Gospels and the Talmud i.e., Aramaic. These people are preserving rituals that date back 2,000 years to the very dawn of Christianity, before it became a Roman religion.

The sad thing is that no one is going to embrace their cause any time soon. When the Pope comes to Israel in May, he is not going to visit the Israeli Christians in the IDF. That would be politically incorrect. Given that Mahmud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, has now retroactively made Jesus a “Palestinian”, the Pope is not going to challenge Abbas. Rather, the Pope is going to celebrate Mass in Bethlehem, before an audience of Muslim Arabs pretending to be Christians for CNN cameras. The rest of the Christian world will also ignore the Christians of Israel. After all, these people are committed to serving in a Jewish army, as opposed to wanting to blow themselves up in Jerusalem pizzerias in the name of Islam. Unfortunately, Western liberals like the latter more than the former.

But spin doctors aside, we should all celebrate the fact that Aramian Christians have survived in the Holy Land and are now rejoining their Jewish brethren. For 1,400 years, Jews and Christians were “dhimmis” i.e., second-class citizens under Islamic rule. Now, they are joining forces in a democratic Israel.

Arab Christians: Israel only state worth fighting for

Ryan Jones 

Arab Christian residents of Nazareth who proudly serve in the Israeli army and encourage their children to do the same are coming under increasing attack, and Israel is starting to take notice and come to their aid.

For a number of years now, a group of Nazareth Christians who are officers in the Israeli army have been actively recruiting young local Arabs to follow in their footsteps and serve the Jewish state.

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Though not an officer himself, one of the main figures in this movement is Greek Orthodox cleric Father Gabriel Nadaf. Late last month, the Greek Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem, acting on demands from Muslim Arab members of Israel’s Knesset, threated to fire Nadaf.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Interior Minister Gideon Saar immediately called the priest to convey their support and offer their assistance.

On Wednesday, Israel’s Attorney General’s Office announced that it had opened an investigation into the activities of the Muslim Knesset members who pushed for Nadaf’s dismissal.

“It’s unacceptable that Arab MKs should think that they can be Trojan horses in the Knesset and send letters of incitement against a Christian priest who encourages young Christians to enlist in the IDF,” said Likud MK Miri Regev during a Knesset Interior Committee hearing on the matter.

Many Arab politicians vehemently oppose Arab participation in Israeli national service for fear it will legitimize the existence of the Jewish state (which pays their paychecks).

Meanwhile, the pro-Israel Arab Christians of Nazareth are becoming increasingly bold in their stance, and even dared to hold a public gathering late last month to toast the achievements of their new forum whose goal is convincing more young Arabs to join the army, as reported by Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper.

“We chose to hold the conference to demonstrate that nothing will deter us,” forum spokesman Moran Khaloul told the newspaper. “We don’t live in Syria, where Christians are not allowed to speak…or in Iraq, where churches are bombed. We live in a Jewish state, which is democratic and free. As Israeli Christians we see ourselves as part of this state and not as part of those who oppose it.”

Khaloul said that until now, many in the community had been too afraid to speak out, but that was going to change. Many are now even referring to themselves openly as “Israeli Christians.”

Ali, an organizer for the forum, noted that local Arabs see what is happening across the Middle East and realize that Israel is the only place in the region where Christians can feel safe and belong. “That’s why more and more of us are realizing that there is no other country here that is worth fighting for,” he added.

Some went even deeper in their reasoning for joining the army of the Jewish state.

Henry Zahav, a 12th grader who intends to join the IDF gave this moving answer when asked by Ma’ariv why he made that decision: “Ultimately, from a religious point of view, we are one. Jesus was a Jew, his mother was a Jew, and his 12 disciples were Jews.”