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Anti-Christian Violence in Muslim World

BU prof: recent spate spotlights longtime problem

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Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s minister for minorities affairs and a Christian, was in this car when he was killed by gunmen on March 2. AP Photo by Anjum Naveed

“Non-Muslim communities have become endangered species throughout much of the Islamic world,” Christian human rights advocate John Eibner wrote in the Boston Globe last month. From mobs torching churches in Cairo to massacres of Christians in Iraq and Egypt to last winter’s assassination of a Christian Pakistani cabinet minister and the beheading of a Tunisian Catholic priest, jihadists are committing violence in a “toxic culture of extremist Muslim supremacy,” Eibner wrote.

BU Today asked Elizabeth Prodromou, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of international relations, what’s behind the uptick in anti-Christian violence taking place amid the uprisings against authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, known as the “Arab Spring”?

Prodromou is a vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a watchdog panel appointed by the president and Congress to monitor religious repression globally. The commission recommends “countries of particular concern” for religious intolerance to the State Department for possible sanctions, although only one country, Eritrea, has been sanctioned in the commission’s 13-year existence. It also keeps a watch list of countries that are tipping toward oppression.

Prodromou specializes in the study of southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean region. She recently visited several Islamic countries, including Morocco, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, on commission business. This interview reflects her personal views, not necessarily those of the commission.

v_eprodromou

BU Today: Is the Globe columnist’s statement about “endangered species” accurate?
Prodromou (left): I think that’s a brilliant way to capture a very concerning situation. Traveling in the region in the fall and spring, it was interesting to hear two religious leaders use that very term. One of them said, “You have this legislation in America, and it protects endangered animals. That’s how we feel as a Christian community here” in Turkey.

So what’s behind the upsurge in anti-Christian violence?
What we’re seeing is the ratcheting upward of a trend line that has been continuing for a long time. The Arab Spring is an expression of widespread discontent with authoritarian regimes; that has highlighted the lack of political and civil liberties in the region. That condition has been more acute for non-Muslim minorities and for minorities within Muslim communities. I’m talking about, for example, Alawites in Turkey, although the flip side is you have an Alawite minority government in Syria that oppresses the Sunni majority. Ahmadiyyas are everywhere, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, and Ismailis in Pakistan—these are minority Muslim communities in Muslim societies that have also been oppressed.

I think we wouldn’t have noticed it as much without the Arab Spring. It’s not because it wasn’t there. I think that we weren’t looking. Who’s suddenly discovering this? The media in the United States and Europe, but also policy makers. The people who should have been looking weren’t looking as carefully as they should have been.

The communities most at risk are those that are numerically smallest, and that happens to be Christian communities. The Copts in Egypt are an example. They’re approximately 10 percent of the population, and they have been systematically politically disenfranchised. Their physical security has been a long-standing problem. It’s a phenomenon already experienced by Jews in the Middle East.

That’s ironic because in the Middle Ages Muslim regimes tended to be more tolerant than European Christian leaders.
Absolutely. A good example is the Jewish community in Turkey, which didn’t arrive until the 15th century because they were being expelled from Europe and the Inquisition in Spain. Under the Ottoman Empire, religious minority communities—Armenian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Jews—operated with a degree of autonomy.

Who is committing the violence, religious fanatics or governments?
Both. Governments—and illustrative cases would be Egypt, Iraq, Turkey—have systematically over the 20th century oppressed their Christian minorities, to the point that in Turkey they’re almost erased, and in Iraq have declined precipitously.

What are your commission and the State Department doing about the problem?
We have designated Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran as countries of particular concern. And Egypt, for the first time. Turkey is a watch-list country. The United States neither can nor should tell these countries what to do. But we provide enormous amounts of foreign assistance. We provide over $1 billion a year to the Egyptians, the second largest recipient after Israel. We provide a lot of financial assistance to Turkey, Saudi Arabia.

We can more carefully target our assistance. We can move away from military assistance to economic development and assistance that helps to build a civil society, where people learn to respect the rule of law. We can provide assistance that helps to professionalize police training, so that policing occurs with respect for human rights. The commission has proposed training for members of judiciaries, whether in Egypt or Saudi Arabia, so that members understand international human rights standards.

As a Christian, if you had to live in a Muslim country, which one would you choose?
Indonesia has a relatively more tolerant approach. And Jordan and Morocco. That’s not to say there aren’t problems. The Moroccan government summarily deported over 100 Christians in 2010, for reasons difficult to ascertain. No country or system can claim absolute perfection.

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

30 Comments

30 Comments on Anti-Christian Violence in Muslim World

  • Andrew Wolfe on 06.17.2011 at 7:49 am

    Assuming Christians intolerant?

    The “irony” question contrasting medieval Muslim “tolerance” with Christian “intolerance” is a little annoying. If Christianity as a whole is responsible for the expulsion of Jews from Spain, then wouldn’t Islam be responsible for the 1453 destruction of the Byzantine empire and the 1529 siege of Vienna? Why does this article dig into historical exaggeration in order to find Christianity intrinsically more intolerant than Islam?

  • kim on 06.17.2011 at 7:57 am

    Horrible Article/ indicts Muslims as violent maniacs

    I am very troubled by this article. The title, the content, everything….. I read it and was wondering why didn’t he write it differently. Title could have been: Challenges living as a Christian in a Muslim World… then the article could have highlighted all of the problems, including violence…. but it’s tone and content is to indict Muslims as violent maniacs.

  • Anonymous on 06.17.2011 at 8:38 am

    "The Muslim World" as a term.

    I was under the impression that we all share one world together, I’m not liking what’s implied by the term “Muslim World,” my atlas certainly doesn’t have the borders of Christianity marked. Maybe it’s the idea of Christians in a “Muslim world” that is precisely the problem. Come on BU Today, the commission carefully uses “community” as a term, The sexy and dangerous headline cheapens the interview and it’s integrity. Furthermore, I respect Prodromou’s careful approach to highlighting human rights as the issue–representation and the right to freely practice religion; the last thing we need is the United States taking on the role as Christianity police, as is stated in the article: “The United States neither can nor should tell these countries what to do.”

  • Chris on 06.17.2011 at 9:42 am

    Muslims are your friends too!

    Please. This article essentialized “Islamic world” and “Muslims” as dangerous to Christians. This is simply not true, and borders on racist (if Muslims are taken as a race). **University publications should take care to not support only one side, the Islamophobic side.

    Anti-Christian/Jewish violence is an epiphenomenon of ignorance and instability, which can exist anywhere. It’s not caused by Islam or Muslims.

    **I’m a Christian who knows Egyptian Copts. Take this quote by a Copt, activist and rabid anti-Islamist herself:
    “The enemy of Christians is not regular Egyptian Muslims; Muslims in my neighborhood have actually protected the church on my street from Mubarak’s mobs! The international community should hold the state fully responsible for these crimes.” http://www.copts.com/english/?p=2153
    This is how she ends her polemic. **One of the fiercest Christian activists…. is thanking her nice Muslim neighbors.

    Christians or other religious minorities in Muslim societies are no more an endangered species than labra-doodles. Like labra-doodles, they are loved by many, and misunderstood by many more, but not threatened on all sides. What they are, in Egypt, is a simple political minority under a dictatorial regime (which was until recently second highest recipient of US-funding).

    Anti-Christian violence certainly is a more visible problem recently. **But let’s do balanced journalism, even in BU Today. University publications should take more care to not support only one side, the Islamophobic side. Thanks.

  • Anonymous on 06.17.2011 at 11:02 am

    What about anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. world? As someone who has always been proud of my country’s supposed commitment to religious tolerance, I’ve found the blase way people now lump Muslim extremists together will all other Muslims really disturbing, and it’s only getting worse. This article made a huge mistake by ignoring the fact that the reverse is true too–anti-Muslim violence in “Christian” parts of the world.

  • Don't miss this on 06.17.2011 at 11:35 am

    Seriously, In my opinion, -

    Seriously, In my opinion,
    - It’s a Weak article
    - I agree on what have been said in the previous comments.
    - I do respect her opinion but still I recommend you read http://english.islamway.com/bindex.php?section=article&id=135 since Her point of view could lack lots of integrity and precise points.
    - As mentioned before “The United States neither can nor should tell these countries what to do”. which lead to t he right decision “play the wise-man role”.
    - A good Question to ask who’s the extremist and why the title?.

  • PROMOTING HATRED on 06.17.2011 at 11:49 am

    PROMOTING HATRED on campus

    Thank you for promoting hatred by only showing a onesided view.

    Prodromou hasn’t even lived there herself. Ask a-ny christian friends living there and go to BU. They’ll tell you they go back and visit all the time.

    If this article was not onesided Barlow would have at least went into depth in this section “That’s ironic because in the Middle Ages Muslim regimes tended to be more tolerant than European Christian leaders”.

    BU Today needs to up their standards and get more accurate information and check the content of their articles.

    Thank you again for disturbing my day.

  • Anonymous on 06.17.2011 at 11:55 am

    Why not talk about the revolutions that are taking place because

    of general oppression, not one religious group over the other.

    EXAMPLE: during the egyptian revolution, muslims and christians stood side by side to bring down the regime.

    Did BU today write about their coexistence? or even mention it in this article? nope. Not important or catchy.

    • Overlord of the Underclassmen on 11.16.2011 at 10:06 am

      “not important or catchy.”

      EXACTLY.

      I wish more people would see that ALL MEDIA feels the need to focus on only what is catchy. This is why I laugh at liberals who think that only Fox news is biased and conservatives that think only NBC, CNN, or CBS is biased.
      PEOPLE, ALL NEWS IS BIASED. NEWS THAT ISN’T BIASED ISN’T INTERESTING OR CONTROVERSIAL, AND THUS LOSES VIEWER/READERSHIP.

  • Anonymous on 06.17.2011 at 12:21 pm

    The "Muslim World" as defined by Islam and used by Muslims

    The “Muslim World” label is not a label invented by the west, or for that matter by the editor of this article. This term has its roots in the Muslim identity and faith (whether we like it or not). So, despite our wish (especially in a university setting) to be politically correct and avoid labels such as “Muslim World”, the truth is that this term is what the “Muslim World” calls itself. Let me elaborate.

    The term “Muslim World” refers to what is called “Ummah” in Arabic, which refers to all of the “Islamic countries” unified — also called the “House of Islam”. The Quran defines “Ummah” as follows: “You [Muslims] are the best nation brought out for Mankind, commanding what is righteous (Ma’ruf, lit. “recognized [as good]“) and forbidding what is wrong (Munkar, lit. “unrecognized [as good]“)…” [3:110]. This is why it is particularly hard for a muslim to accept or adopt the concept of separation of church and state.

    In the eye of a Muslim, the world is black and white — Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) and Dar al-Harb (House of war). The House of Islam are the countries where Islamic law prevails (in the early days of Islam, this also refered to land and nations that were annexed through wars). The House of War consists of the rest, including what apologetics call Dar al-Hudna (House of truce), Dar al-Ahd (House of treaty), and Dar al-Daawa (House of proselytising).

    A classic article that explains the deep-rooted notions of “Us versus Them” in the Islamic mindset is by Bernard Lewis at http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/1990/09/the-roots-of-muslim-rage/4643 (read it!)

  • Ray on 06.17.2011 at 1:15 pm

    Good article, I applaud the author.

    Thanks Rich for the article,
    You subjected yourself to criticism and the accusation of being Islamophobe for simply stating the facts and shedding a light of the blight of the endangered minorities.
    I’m a Copt and since the beginning of the year, 4 Churches were burned in Egypt and one more blown up. Every couple of weeks there are sectarian clashes with fatalities.
    The fallen regime was apathetic to the problems of the Copts and never brought justice on their attackers, encouraging more attacks. But the real cause is the spirit of intolerance that fuels such attacks.
    I applaud Rich for interviewing the right person with the right vision as well.

  • Anonymous on 06.17.2011 at 2:46 pm

    “We provide a lot of financial assistance to Turkey, Saudi Arabia”
    Seriously, don’t you mean Saudi Arabia provide a lot of financial assistance to US. Some common sense here please!!

  • Bryan on 06.17.2011 at 2:50 pm

    Perhaps those who are alarmed at how alarmist this article seems need a reality check. This is not the first time that an ethnic or religious minority has been systematically oppressed and pushed out of the Muslim-run states of the Middle East.

    In the first half of the twentieth century, Jews lived all over the Middle East, some in communities that had existed even before the Arab conquests (the Iraqi Jewish community, for example, predated the Arab settlement of Mesopotamia by more than a thousand years). Now those thriving Jewish communities are gone forever, due to both government-directed persecution and mob violence.

    The same thing is happening to Christian communities all over the Middle East. Unlike the Jews, however, they have no state to run to. They are being driven out of their country and the lot of you are more concerned about “Islamophobia” at home (where Jews, and not Muslims, are the religious group most targeted by hate crimes; why is that, and why aren’t we talking about it?) than with the very real, physical violence directed against the Christians of the Middle East.

    • Adrienne on 10.14.2011 at 10:33 am

      Bryan, let us also not forget the first GENOCIDE of the 20th century – the extermination of the Christian Armenians by the Muslim Turks, a cowardly act still denied by Turkey today and tolerated by the U.S. government because of its strategic military location. Many of the commenters here need a reality check indeed. Google Armenian Genocide and get an eye-full. My great grandparents and grandparents were victims of these Muslim attacks, just as the Jews were later on and that happened because Hitler was smart enough to realize “Who remembers the Armenians?” And it still is happening today as Bryan said. It isn’t Islamophobia – it’s reality.

  • Ammar Awadi on 06.17.2011 at 2:55 pm

    “Endangered Species” is very exaggerated term.

    As an Iraqi and Muslim, I lived my life in Iraq & some other countries in the Middle-east. I believe the term used as “endangered species” is quite far from the truth. I’ll talk about the situation in Iraq only.
    The massacres happened to Christians in Iraq was a part of many other massacres happen in my country and killed HUNDRED of THOUSANDS of my people (mostly are Muslims). Iraq has been a victim to Extremist and Terrorist from all over the world, they came after the 2003 war and start killing us by hundreds EVERYDAY. Yes, there are some Iraqi criminals who supports them and helps them but it’s not arising from the Iraqi beliefs or culture. We are victims of this new madness as many others, including victims of 911.
    Iraqi Christians are endogenous part of Iraqi society and community, they will certainly get effected and suffer as well. Iraq Christianity is one of the oldest in world and we knows thats in Iraq and never had a sectarian violent war against Iraqi Christians. People in the West don’t see it as how we see it. Whats happening now is happening TO ALL WHO IS IN IRAQ, MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS.

  • Anonymous on 06.17.2011 at 4:19 pm

    I think this can be a very related video to this subject

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Y3TzEv0D4

  • Anonymous on 06.17.2011 at 4:48 pm

    Criticisms of this article are symptomatic of the problem!

    I find it puzzling to read comments (presumably by enlightened members of the BU community) who seem to react not to the facts on the ground but to an image they feel is important to project and protect.

    The truth is that Christians as well as minority Mulsims (like Bahai and Ismailis as Prodromou emphasizes) are endangered species. To argue othewise or to argue that exposing the attrocities committed against these minorities is somehow representative of an Islamophobic agenda is irrational, to put it mildly.

    The fact that the majority of Muslims abhore violence and believe in national unity, etc. does not change the reality: Christians (e.g., in Egypt) are consistently abused and live as second degree citizens despite the best intentions of apologetics… To deny the severity of the situation or to try and treat it delicately so as not to be accused as Islamophobes is akin to contributing to it.

    Moreover, this is not about Christians and Muslims, this is about the trend, and who is going to be next. This concern is very eloquently expressed by David Harris in his “Christians at Risk: A Jew’s Concern” post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-harris/christians-at-risk-a-jews_b_875612.html

    Unless and until enlightened, rational Muslims see the danger to them from the extinction of the “endangered species” in their homelands, and unless and until they stand up to expose the atrocities committed in the name of their religion (instead of labeling those who do as Islamophobes), … they will be next!

  • Anonymous on 06.17.2011 at 11:49 pm

    More or Less Correct

    I agree that the title is sensationalist, and polemic about the “Muslim World” as a single homogeneous entity is unproductive at best (and dangerous at worst, as when touted with pedantic/pseudosemantic authority like our Bernard Lewis fan below talking about “the eyes of a Muslim” as if Muslims are like milk containers, the same inside every time, not humans with minds and hearts – Frantz Fanon said it best, “Place any limits on my humanity and you have taken the first step towards hating me”). But change the headline to “Anti-Christian Violence in Muslim Countries” and I’d say it’s more or less correct. I am appalled by all of these atrocities. And embarrassed, not only as a Muslim, just as a person. I really would have liked to hear more about the commission’s proposed solutions, though. I like the idea of supporting civil society and the rule of law. But rule of law requires a feeling of belonging to the nation-state and, more importantly, trust in your government – very far from the realities of the cited countries of concern. Where o where are my brave Muslim brothers and sisters who will struggle to delegitimize the ideologies supporting religious persecution and violence by creating a new discourse – one that affirms that Human Rights are Islamic Values? That, along with economic incentives that ease the frustration and marginalization that fertilize extremism – that will be a cornerstone of the building of civil society.

  • follower on 06.18.2011 at 11:25 am

    Disagree

    I lived in Turkey 25 years and I saw that Turkish People are very friendly and they do not judge your religion. I do not know which part of Turkey, you experienced these activities but I know that this article is very biased and it is far away from the truth. You are creating discrimination towards people by differentiating them from each other and creating anger to each other. Turkey is now preparing more rights to minorities and nobody judge your beliefs in Turkey. Do not put Turkey into your disgusting slanderous scenario or do not confuse every Middle East Country with modern European Turkey.

  • Dogus on 06.18.2011 at 12:52 pm

    Intolerance to Christian Society in Turkey??

    I’m an orthodox christian born and raised in Turkey and never faced with such intolerance/discrimination as I have seen in the US. When you say someone that you are from Turkey stereotype people directly think I’m arabic based Muslim which I have no related part and even some people still stupidly ask if we still ride camels with a Turkish towel on our head. I do have an academic career as the author of this article and I suggest her to make more research before making such a horrifying acquisition to a nation with such a great history and cultural background.

  • Anonymous on 06.18.2011 at 3:18 pm

    As an upcoming freshman International Relations student from Turkey, I am highly disturbed by the one sided approach and lack of information presented in this article. This kind of approach to international matters,I think, is what I will encounter sometimes at BU and will struggle with. Although This article highlights the greatly significant issue of anti-Christian violence, it deviates from it’s purpose.

  • An Essay of "Why?" on 06.19.2011 at 1:26 am

    An Essay of "Why?"

    In response to “Why does this article dig into historical exaggeration in order to find Christianity intrinsically more intolerant than Islam?”, the answer is simple. In many historical senses, Christianity is the most intolerant. You are correct in stating that every religion has skeletons in their closets, but speaking as a Roman Catholic, I have to admit that the Church was the figurehead for the extermination and colonization of South America, largescale corruption, and the formation of Inquisitions throughout Europe and the Americas. Sure bring up any other faith and you could blame them for the Siege of Vienna in 1529, but I can bring up the organized forced assimilation and destruction of African culture during the Imperial Era. Perhaps we simply blame the Church for exercising a power with which other faiths would have done worse.

    As for the general feel for the article, a first read made me agree that the article seems to foster a “Muslim vs. Victimized Christian” train of thought. Nevertheless, reading the article over again I noticed that the wording was very correctly veered to refer to “RADICAL” or “JIHADIST” muslims exclusively. I believe that everyone has become upset because this article inadvertently adds to the Anti-muslim sentiments that the media seems to constantly reinforce. The term “Endangered Species” though, seriously? More Muslims have been slaughtered as the result of these jihadists than Christians, and the number of Christians killed are not proportionally larger than the number of Muslims killed. So I ask, why so specifically perturbed over Christian death alone? I am not saying that the writers are Anti-Islam in any way, shape, or form. But Zoroastrians have died; Jews have been killed in troves; Hindis have been majorly scarred as well. I’m sure that the writers could come up with some very nice politically correct response, but one that would never directly address the question. My point is that they chose to write about Christian Death as the direct result of a “Muslim jihadist vs. Christian” mentality, where we are to equate “Christian” with “Western” and “Western” with “American”. The writers believe that this article is remotely interesting to us because for the most part “we are American, we are Christian, jihadists keep killing Amer…I mean uhhh Christians in the Middle East”.
    Sure…deny it.

  • James on 06.20.2011 at 6:57 am

    The answer to your last question should have been Iran. They are and have the most tolerant towards Christians. Where did the Armenians go to when the they fled the Ottomans? Where did the Assyrians go when the fled the Turks? Where did 3000 Polish refugees go when they were fleeing the Russians and Germans in WWII? They all went to Iran and were welcomed.

  • Bryan on 06.20.2011 at 10:49 am

    Re: Iran

    Apropos your comment about Iran, I would say that Iran 80 or 50 years ago was enormously different from Iran today. Imperial Iran was relatively Western-looking and modernizing. The revolution of 1979 changed everything. Iran today is a brutal police state. I doubt Dr. Prodromou, who as a woman would be forced to veil her hair in Iran, would willingly sign up to be under the thumb of the ayatollahs and the IRGC.

  • James on 06.22.2011 at 10:56 am

    Re: Re: Iran

    Your comment does not address the issue, which is regarding Christians living in Muslim lands.

    It had/has nothing to do with “Imperial Iran” or “Western-looking and modernizing”. I don’t think you will find a scholar who will call Shah Abbas “Western-looking”, yet he granted to Armenians a special protected status.

    Iran throughout its history has been extremely tolerant not only towards Christians but to Jews as well. In fact, since the 1979 revolution, the Christian and Jewish minorities have gained a protected status.

    I think Ms. Prodromou and the article should have singled out Muslim nations that have had good relations with their Christian population. The reader gets the sense that it is a problem throughout the Muslim world.

  • Methusalem on 06.27.2011 at 9:31 am

    “Under the Ottoman Empire, religious minority communities—Armenian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Jews—operated with a degree of autonomy”

    Of course, they exploited their knowledge, used their talents, stole their souls, and later, they spit them out. Have you heard of the Armenian genocide? 1 million of them were slaughtered by those evil Ottomans.

    By the way, if I were a Muslim, I will be ashamed to write or say something in defence of Islam, whenever the state of intolerance and persecution of minorities is exposed. This intolerance is happening in all of the 52 muslim states. Do you know that all these states are Juden-frei (free of Jews) and don’t allow Jews into their territories?!

    http://blogs.wsj.com/middleseat/2011/06/24/blame-saudi-arabia-not-delta-for-policy-on-jews/

    I think Muslims should first deal with their immense problems before they even start interacting with the rest of the world community.

  • James on 06.27.2011 at 6:06 pm

    Re: Under the Ottoman Empire,

    Maybe you should do a bit more research before making such posts. Jews have been living in Iran for over 2000 years. And they still live there

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn4ZX99Fbxs

    Also, how can you talk about people killing in the name of religion and ignore the Serbian massacre of Muslims in the Balkans. The largest number of people killed because of their religion in the past 20 years was Serbian Christians killing Albanian, Bosnian and Serbian Muslims.

    You mention Turkey and the Armenian Genocide, yet you choose to ignore the Genocide of 2+ million Muslims in the Caucuses and Crimea at the hands of the USSR.

  • Anonymous on 07.04.2011 at 7:58 pm

    At last...

    Finally, my old alma mater appears to be getting some common sense. As some one who’s been kicked out of multiple services (a kind of taxi-van) in several Arab countries for my nationality and having “inta sharmouta, kaafir!” yelled at me by Muslims, showing the soles of their feet, leaving a masjid where they should have been listening to all that peaceful Islam we keep getting told about, I no longer believe in Islamophobia. Muslims (or at least an overwhelming majority of them), contra Edward Said the dhimmi, essentially do hate us and our culture, yet European colonialism lasted only 2 centuries versus Islamic colonialism and conquest which has lasted for 14 centuries. (Constantinople sure didn’t embrace the name “Islambul” given by Mehmet the Conqueror willingly, nor did the roughly 2 million Europeans captured in the Islamic slave raids from the 1500s until the early 1800s. Oh, and just google the dates on when Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Niger abolished slavery. 1969, 1981, and 2004, respectively). I’m no friend of Christianity, but at least I’ve never been insulted by Christians leaving a church. I used to defend Muslims whenever discussions turned to the war on terrorism, until I got the chance to travel and live in some of their countries. I sympathize with Arab Christians, as living there, day in and day out, felt, for me, like being a constant victim of jihad and terrorism.

  • Anonymous on 07.08.2011 at 10:13 am

    Armenia is sorrounded

    The case of over 1 million Armenians slaughtered in attempts by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) to rid themselves of the Christian minority Armenia occurred not once but twice in recorded history, first in the early 1800s then again in 1915 during WWI. Today the USSR liberated Christian nation Armenian is surrounded by Islamic countries and it’s regional trade is suppressed. Armenia’s people and economy suffer. There is more to “intolerance” than the horrific massacres documented especially today in a global economy and where the whole world has more acute internal vision. There is certainly more ways to strangle a Christian country like Armenia than outright murder although Armenia has endured both.

  • Anonymous on 09.09.2011 at 9:46 am

    I can’t understand why your article is receiving so many negative comments when it is presenting the facts of the matter. The situation on the ground is this: as the repressive regimes fall, extremists are seizing the opportunity to take control. Their agenda is intolerance to anything outside of Islam. The people up in arms over this article should drop their cnn blinders and start calling a ‘spade a spade’ on this one. The facts will never be anti-Islamist or anti-anything.

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