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Christian Arabs Must Not Embrace Anti-Islam Regimes: A Third Formidable Challenge Awaiting

28 December 2013

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Jerusalem

I know I have to exercise extreme caution when dealing with this sensitive issue of Christian citizens in the Arab world. The ugly head of sectarianism would always rise if we didn't take the necessary precautions to keep it buried underground. I say "keep it buried underground," not crush it into oblivion because as long as there are religions and sects there will always be sectarianism. Hence, the best and utmost we can do and hope for is to seek common grounds and common denominators based on human rights and civil liberties under the umbrella of of equal citizenship.

Unfortunately, efforts to keep the ugly head of the ghoul of sectarianism at bay are not always successful especially in states that utilize sectarianism to prevent democracy and perpetuate sectarian tyranny and despotism.

Unfortunately, there is a trend in the media, especially the secular media, to blame Islamists for tampering with the sectarian equation. Rarely have we heard criticisms directed at the Christian communities or their respective leaderships for generating negative anti-Christian impressions among the majority Muslim population.

Take Syria for an example. For sixty years, the country has been languishing under the murderous boots of the heretical Alawite sect, which used the Baath party as a ladder to reach the helm of power.

The Baathist fascism practiced and promoted by the Assad family penetrated every aspect of the Syrian state, government and society. I am sure Syrians know much more than I do about the evils of the Assad Dynasty rule, a rule that continues to dispatch Syrians to their graves by the hundreds per day.

Unfortunately, Christians in Syria, or most of them, sided decidedly with the terrorist regime of Bashar Assad against the vast majority of the Syrian people who rose up for freedom.

I believe Christians who decided to join the Assad boat must be treated like criminal terrorists, just like other people joining that nefarious regime, including "nominal Muslims."

Christians joining the ranks of Bashar Assad are terrorists and criminals not because they are Christian, but rather because they are involved in crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazi-like regime against its own people.

As mentioned, the same descriptions apply to everyone joining ranks with the Assad regime.

The Copts

Many Egyptian Christians have also been making the same historical blunder of siding with the coup-makers who usurped the collective will of the Egyptian people.

The Sisi junta has murdered thousands of innocent Egyptians. It has tortured and maltreated political opponents and rounded up tens of thousands of people.

Needless to say, this is the hallmark of fascism.

It is unacceptable that Christians in Egypt or elsewhere in the Arab world insist on imposing secularism on a predominantly Muslim people. Secularism may be part of Christianity, but it is not part of Islam.

Let me make this perfectly clear. Christians in the Arab world have every right to demand equality as citizens. But they don't have the right to impose secularism as a new religion on Muslims. Similarly, Christians have no right to insist that belief in godless secularism is sine-qua-non for participation in political life.

Don't tell me secularism is good. In the Arab world, especially in Egypt, Syria and Algeria, secularism means vehement hostility to Islam.

Muslims, like the followers of any other conceivable religion, have a full natural right to take part in political life and form political parties based on their Islamic convictions and ideals. It is unacceptable that, for example, Communists have a right to form political parties based on their Marxist-Leninist convictions and liberals have a similar right to do the same thing based on their liberal convictions while Muslims are denied that right. This is not only hostility to Islam; it is also hostility to democracy and human rights.

Some Christian pundits might argue that Communism and liberalism are political philosophies whereas Islam is a religion. Well, with all due respect, Christians have no right to define Islam for Muslims just as Muslims have no right to define Christianity for Christians.

This ought to be treated as an axiomatic matter that shouldn't be even raised in public were it not for the ongoing dark embrace between some influential Christian circles and the tyrannical gangs in Cairo and Damascus.

More to the point, there are Christian political parties ruling in many countries such as Germany, so why is it that of all peoples in the world, Muslims are barred from taking part in political life unless they are willing to effectively renounce their faith?

We won't renounce our faith and we won't renounce our right to participate in political life even if we have to shed our blood for it.

I am sure that Christians of good-will understand Muslim concerns in this regard. Unfortunately, not all Christians harbor good-will toward Muslims. These people include, inter alia, the Coptic Church of Egypt. In the past few years, especially ever since the ousting of Egyptian tyrant Husni Mubarak, this particular Church has lost no opportunity to display its venomous vindictiveness and sullen hostility to Islam and the Islamists. The print and electronic media associated with the Church never stopped even for one minute inciting hatred against Islamists. The declared target is the Muslim Brotherhood, but the real target is Islam, the Prophet of Islam and the holy scriptures of Islam.

Indeed, we would exaggerate very little if we said that the Coptic Church and many of its followers bear much of the moral responsibility for the genocidal massacres of the Islamists at the hands of the murderous Sisi gang. The Church actually never sought to distance itself from the perpetrators of the hideous crimes which should make condemnation of the Church acquire an added legitimacy.

Christians and Muslims lived generally peacefully and even amicably for many centuries. Christian-Muslim unity more or less survived the Crusades' era and the creation of the Zionist state of Israel, especially the unlimited support and backing of that criminal entity by western Christian powers.

Now, there is a third formidable challenge awaiting to test the tenacity and durability of Christian-Muslim relations in the Arab world And that is the slow and arduous transformation into democracy . Unfortunately, the tidings don't look very good.

Let me be clear. Christians, like all citizens, have the right to take part in political life. They have the right to form or join the political party of their choice. But they absolutely have no right to demand the exclusion of Islam-based parties from the political game.

Needless to say, that would be the ultimate game-changer that would rock the boat of coexistence between Muslims and Christians in this part of the world.

Khalid Amayreh is an American-educated journalist living in Occupied Palestine



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