The Departure of the Elves
One commentator named Abdikarim, bristling at ouster of the Islamic Courts Union from Somalia remarked in a newspaper that one day the Christians, not the Muslims would be hunted. "You need to understand all you are doing is killing inocent mosles. like there is a terrorist in philipine give me a break. Look at Somalia they the Crusedrs have destroyed a whole nation just becouse they hapened to a Moslem Nation. You know what? one of this day table will turn and it will be Christian who are going to be hunted,becouse there is good in this world and there is justice". He is somewhat behind the times. The Christians are already being hunted. Der Spiegel talks about the unacknowledged ethnic cleansing: the latest and perhaps final departure of Christians from the Middle East.
Christians have lived in the Arab world for the past 2,000 years. They were there before the Muslims. Their current predicament is not the first crisis they have faced and, compared to the massacres of the past, it is certainly not the most severe in Middle Eastern Christianity. But in some countries, it could be the last one. Even the pope, in his Christmas address, mentioned the "small flock" of the faithful in the Middle East, who he said are forced to live with "little light and too much shadow," and demanded that they be given more rights.
There are no reliable figures on the size of Christian minorities in the Middle East. This is partly attributable to an absence of statistics, and partly to the politically charged nature of producing such statistics in the first place. Lebanon's last census was taken 74 years ago. Saddam Hussein, a Sunni who is himself part of a minority, was fundamentally opposed to compiling denominational statistics. In Egypt the number of Christians fluctuates between five and 12 million, depending on who is counting.
Given the lack of hard numbers, demographers must rely on estimates, whereby Christians make up about 40 percent of the population in Lebanon, less than 10 percent in Egypt and Syria, two to four percent in Jordan and Iraq and less than one percent in North Africa. But the major political changes that are currently affecting the Middle East have led to shrinking Christian minorities. In East Jerusalem, where half of the population was Christian until 1948, the year of the first Arab-Israeli war, less than five percent of residents are Christian today. In neighboring Jordan, the number of Christians was reduced by half between the 1967 Six Day War and the 1990s. There were only 500,000 Christians still living in Iraq until recently, compared to 750,000 after the 1991 Gulf War. Wassim, one of the seminary students now fleeing to Kurdistan, estimates that half of those remaining Christians have emigrated since the 2003 US invasion, most of them in the last six months.
To a West ostensibly eager to preserve "older" cultures and desperate for authenticity, the indifference to the decimation of the Christian heartland -- the churches to whom St. Paul addressed his Epistles -- can only be explained by political correctness. But ignorance plays a large part too. Many half-educated individuals wrongly assume Christianity is a Western religion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Christ was born and spread his message in the historical Middle East. The oldest Christian communities in the world, including the one to which the apostle Paul found his way in Damascus were exactly where they are being driven from. Its ironic that a West which hardly regards itself as Christian should consider it a shameful Western doctrine. But then that demonstrates that which is to be demonstrated.
The European legacy of the past centuries has not only tainted Christianity with the colonial brush but created conditions which objectively favored the politics of terrorism in the Middle East. By pursuing the policy of divide and rule and then following it with a cynical willingness to deal with the Last Man Standing, the West created an environment where Islamic extremism and other toxic ideologies thrived. That noxious atmosphere expels everything opposed to it. Were it not for the fact that Israel were defended on all sides by the IDF it could not exist. Perhaps the real objection to Israel is that it constitutes a polity which is prepared to resist force with force. And that, fairly enough, is always a recipe for war.
When Napoleon's troops advanced into the Nile delta in 1798 and occupied Egypt, they noticed strange customs. Coptic women were required to wear one blue and one red shoe. The men were permitted to ride on horseback, but only facing backwards. The French quickly realized that the Copts were subjects "de troisième classe" -- third-class citizens. Some continue to feel that way today.
When Christians apply for an identification card in Egypt, they are occasionally registered as Muslims -- without their knowledge. Once the record is official, it can take up to a dozen visits to the relevant government agency to amend the entry.
For decades, obtaining a permit to build a new church in Egypt was a true test of patience for Coptic Christians. Under an archaic Egyptian law from the Ottoman days, no less than the president's approval was required for a project as insignificant as repairing a church roof. Hosni Mubarak, the current president, only abolished the law last year.
Abdikarim, in longing for the day when he can hunt Christians suffers not from a lack of motivation but a lack of information. The time to hunt Christians is now.