Muslims Must Protect Arab and Middle Eastern Christians
Posted October 17, 2014 by Kamal Nawash
Muslims Must Protect Arab Christians
By Kamal Nawash
The last 10 years have not been easy for Arab & Middle Eastern Christians. Numerous events, including the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Israel's continuous killing of Palestinians with the perceived support of the United States, have inspired the belief that the "Christian West" has declared war on the Muslims of the Middle East.
Unfortunately, some radical Muslims have attacked Christian Arabs in retaliation for America and the West's attacks on majority Muslim nations. Most notably, churches have been attacked in Egypt, Iraq and Syria by extremists who now view their Christian countrymen with suspicion because they share the same religion as the West.
Christians and their Churches have also been attacked in Israel. Christian lands have been confiscated by Israel at a disproportioned number and Christians have been prevented from returning to their native villages in Israel.
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. In the early days of Islam, Arab and Middle Eastern Christians translated scholarly Greek philosophy and religious work into Arabic. This helped propel the Muslim nations into a global power with advances in science, mathematics, astronomy, and arts while Europe was blinded by the dark ages.
Moreover, in a major contribution to the world, 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 Islamic-Christian relationship.
Most of the Arab Muslims in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt have Christian ancestry. The family relations between Middle Eastern Muslims and Christians have historically produced unprecedented positive results. During the height of the Muslim Caliphate(s), it was not unusual for a Christian to be a commander of a majority Muslim army.
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 founder of the Baath Party (Renaissance) in Iraq and Syria was a Christian named Michel Aflaq, who named his son Mohammad. 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 Palestine Christians continue to hold high positions in government. 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, Palestinian and Syrian Christians as managers in commerce, construction, education, engineering, healthcare and media among other industries. In the United States, the founders of Arab American organizations which defend Muslims and advocate for Arab civil rights are Christians i.e. James Zogby, James Abourezk, Khalil Jahshan and Naila Asali, to name a few.
Thus, the recent attacks on Christian churches in Iraq, Syria and Egypt are an exception to a history where Christian-Muslim relations benefited each other and the world. Attacks on Arab & Middle Eastern Christians are absolutely unacceptable under any circumstance. Accordingly, it is the duty of every Muslim to protect and preserve Middle Eastern Christians whether they are Assyrian, Chaldean, Maronite, Copts, Catholic, Orthodox or any other denomination for these Christians are the natives of the Middle East and the extended family members of Arab and Middle Eastern Muslims.
As to Middle Eastern countries that are weak and unable to defend their Christian citizens, such as Iraq and Syria, Christians must be given the tools to defend themselves until the central governments are strong enough to protect all their citizens.
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. Muslim leaders must voice their support and offer their protection for their Christian neighbors 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 believe was without sin and is in fact their messiah. Muslims refer to Jesus Christ as 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. The Middle East is the cradle of Christianity and Middle Eastern Christians are a living history.
Kamal Nawash, President
Free Muslims Coalition