Why we all should defend Christianity in the Middle East?

[04-04-2012 12:00 AM]

By Amer Al Sabaileh

Although not a Christian myself, I feel that no one can doubt the important role of the “Christians of Levant” during the period of enlightenment in the Arab world. They played a significant part in creating a platform for an Arab socio-cultural and political consciousness.

The Middle East is a rich fabric of interwoven social and cultural identities which should be defended at all times The very nature of this innate heterogeneous coexistence is the heart of our civilization and one of our greatest treasures to be valued - not destroyed.

The mistakes committed in Iraq should never be repeated. We need to learn from the catastrophic crimes of extremist militants who targeted Iraqi Christians. We cannot allow this to happen to the Syrian Christian community. It should not dwindle and Christians should not be forced to flee their land.

Many of the reports and videos coming out of Syria that what is called the Syrian uprising is, in fact, not a pure popular revolution. On the contrary, rather than a spontaneous protest, we are seeing armed resistance fed by extremists and Salafists. I am definitely not here to defend the Syrian regime but I would like to defend the region from catapulting into a potential Afghani scenario.

Will we never learn from our mistakes? Those who are now in favor of sending arms are the same who were behind the disastrous outcomes in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and even Iraq. The whole world should strongly oppose this option simply because nobody wants the region to turn into another Qandahar or Kabul.

Targeting the two secular states, Iraq and now Syria, will not lead to just a sectarian war. It risks putting an end to the concept of accepting diversity and pluralism, the tenets of multiculturalism and religious expression.

If we are heading towards a new bloody scenario in the region it will affect all of us. When will we start to realize that who and what is behind this condemns anybody who doesn’t share its own brand of ideology? When will we wake up to the fact that replacing our rich fabric with sectarian dogma will be the demise of Arab civilization as we know it? Moreover, watching the Syrian scenario falling into the hands of ignorance reminds us of the German writer Goethe’s comment: “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action”.

Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh

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