The Arab world has rid itself of its Jews. Now it's the turn of Christians. Writing in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas, liberal Kuwaiti writer and commentator Ahmad Al-Sarraf contends that ethnically cleansing Christian minorities in Arab countries leads to increasing intolerance and extremism. Treat your non-Muslims as you would be treated as Muslims in the West, he advises. Via MEMRI:
"What sustained this stream of enforced emigration [of Christians from the Middle East] is the innumerable incidents of injustice to which local Christian minorities have been constantly subjected, and which in many areas have become routine. Thus, heads of [Christian] communities have been murdered; [Christian] places of worship have been set on fire; [Christian-owned] shops have been plundered; the Christians have been marginalized in their [host] societies, and their lives have been embittered - and this is only a partial list.
"These [iniquities] have prompted many [Christians] to leave their homeland, sometimes temporarily but more often for good, and to direct their steps westward, entrusting their fate to the munificence of Western countries and their citizens - which is precisely what [the anti-Christian elements] had set out to accomplish in the first place.
"What these aggressive [elements] do not realize, however, is that even when a particular religion, movement, or ethnic community is entirely annihilated, the ethnic cleansing will not stop; other ethnic communities and religions will be targeted, one by one, and ultimately large groups will attempt to annihilate one another. (My emphasis - ed)
"If we put Iraq aside for the present… we will find that the situation of Christians in some parts of Lebanon, in Gaza, and in Egypt is not good, and that their number is steadily decreasing. Yet despite this, a contemptible [columnist has published] a hostile article contending that Christians are about to invade and take over the East, and that the hordes of [Christian] missionaries [are advancing] at full speed. I really don't know what he is talking about.
"It is imperative to try to prevent the steady decrease in the Christian population of Arab and Muslim countries, [especially since] most of their Jewish residents emigrated in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The fewer Christians are left, the more extremist and the less accepting of the other we become, and the less able to understand the other's [position] or appreciate the conditions [in which he lives].
"The claim that [the Christians living in our midst] present a danger is nothing but loathsome and irrational extremism. Their centuries-long presence among us has not rendered us less dependent on our customs and traditions - and I say this despite of my distaste for both these notions. Our comparatively tolerant [attitudes]… have not prevented our region from becoming a breeding ground for benighted fundamentalism, which spreads outside it in all directions."I do not know when we will acknowledge that we are part of this world, and that just as we demand that all world countries, in particular Western countries, respect the beliefs of their Muslim citizens, enable them to practice their religion, and ensure their wellbeing - so must we act [fairly] towards non-Muslims in our midst. The extremists and boors in this wretched nation, [however,] think the exact opposite - namely, that while our coreligionists are entitled to every mark of respect, we are not obligated [to honor members of other religions] - since we alone are messengers of the true [religion]; we are right, while all the others have gone astray."
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