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Disappearance of Churches of the Middle East, a Tragedy for Christians and Muslims


Vatican City (AsiaNews) -- Benedict XVI has called synod of the churches in the Middle East for an October 2010. Preparation for this event requires understanding of the situation that surrounds this part of the world and the difficult problems that the churches there are suffering. First there is widespread conflict. There is one that has lasted for decades, between Israel and Palestine, and associated with it, other situations of war that have arisen in other countries.

Then there is the political changes that have taken place in Iran since '79, which brought to the fore the Shiite movement. In many countries where it exists, it is becoming its self-awareness is growing, although this often takes on the form of confrontation. A third factor is the rise of Islamic terrorism in the countries of the Middle East which is spreading throughout the world. Added to this the war in Iraq and its consequences. All of these political situations are somehow inter-connected.

Another important dimension is the growth of the Islamic fundamentalist movement. This has changed the very social structure of the region which has for decades seen the insistence of Islamic discourse in the media; schools are permeated with the teachings Islam, especially fundamentalist Islam; on the streets religious adverts are an increasing; the traditional external or extremist signs of this trend. In some countries the growth of fundamentalism has encouraged the adoption of sharia, or part of sharia. This has a strong influence on the lives of Christians, because they are forced to behave in a "more Islamic" way, often suffering social exclusion as a result.

Even in Palestine in the last decade the once prevalent secular trend has greatly diminished and the fundamentalist trend has increased. Religious freedom has declined everywhere, choking the Church's mission. Emigration The easiest response for Christians to this situation tends to be one that is both equal and opposite: affirming the Christian identity with more stringency; a hardening of relations among themselves. This is evident in Egypt, but also in other situations. Another way to react is to emigrate. Everyone, Christians and Muslims emigrate for socio-economic reasons, rarely for religious reasons. But the number of Christians who emigrate is far higher than that of Muslims and among the reasons why Christians leave those of cultural, and moral freedom are mounting. Emigration is facilitated by the fact that many Christians have relatives and friends abroad, the result of past migrations. In the case of Egypt it is clear: Muslim migration has always been temporary, to the Gulf countries, people leave for a few years and then return.

Instead Christians emigrate to North America or Europe or Australia, transplanting themselves in a comprehensive manner. Emigration is not an entirely negative factor: it can also be opportunity for renewal. The Coptic community in the United States, for example, counts at least 700 thousand faithful. These were compared with American or Australian culture and sought to maintain the Coptic tradition - such as fasting, which is very intense and long - and respect for the clergy and for their Church. At the same time they have found other ways to celebrate, a greater closeness to the Holy Scriptures, Western theology. This has allowed for a true ecumenism and openness to other religious communities. And this is a positive contribution to their church.

Emigration has positive aspects also from an economic standpoint because it supports families and churches back home. The presence of Islamic fundamentalism has positive aspects: it encourages Christians to live their faith in a more radical and intimate way, because there is an attack on their faith. Religious feeling is strengthened; at times, this religious sentiment in Christians and Muslims tends to fanaticism, but more often it arouses the desire for greater reflection, freedom and discovery.

The mission of the Christian minority What makes matters worse is the fact numeric: Christians are a minority, they have neither numbers nor militias to claim a space. Their presence is neither supported in the region - because it is overwhelmingly Muslim - nor abroad because Europe and America are uninterested in the fate of Christians. When interest is aroused it is because the plight of Christians is linked to the economic and political situation. We must take stock of these reasons in order to understand what future Christians have in the Middle East. And this is the purpose of the Synod: first comprehend the situation and then look for possible paths of action.

Many Christians are tempted to emigrate. This choice weakens those who remain: those leaving are generally the most capable in cultural and economic terms, and those who stay the weakest and the poorest. This is likely to provoke a vicious circle: the more people leave the more those who remain are oppressed. A similar thing happened in Turkey. Today there are more Syriac faithful in Saudi Arabia (migrants from India) than in Turkey and Syria combined. On a personal level, Christians a re highly adaptable to all situations.

This means that in a one to two generations, Christians abroad become permanent residents and part of another Christian community. But the question is: have Christians a specific mission in the Middle East? If one thinks about the consequences for communities worldwide, it must be said that there is a risk of a great loss for world culture and the Universal Church: the end of the Churches of the East. Within a few decades a large part of the theological and intellectual heritage of the Churches of the East would be cancelled. And no book can replace it. Severe loss But it would be a great loss for the countries of the East. Christians are a different voice, a challenging one, diverse from Israel and the Muslims, with a specific culture that enriches this cultural area. It would also be a loss for society because Christians represent a tradition of freedom, of openness that is partly missing in the Islamic tradition, which is more closed in on itself.

This phenomenon has occurred many times in history: the Assyrian Christians who between the eighth century and the twelfth introduced Hellenistic thought in philosophy, medicine, science. And in 800 and 900, they also introduced European thought through their translations. They are a cultural bridge. And for the same Islamic world their disappearance would be a loss. In short, the emigration of Christians abroad and their disappearance from the East would be a loss for everyone, first and foremost for Muslims themselves. By Samir Khalil Samir 






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December = Kanoon I

Disappearance of Churches of the Middle East, a Tragedy for
Christians and Muslims December 10, 2009

Assyrian Church Bell Tower in Turkey Threatened in Retaliation for
Swiss Minaret Ban
December 10, 2009

Bombing of Assyrian churches in Iraq continues December 1, 2009

Congressman Peters Introduces Resolution Supporting Iraqi Refugees December 4, 2009

November = Teeshreen-II

Assyrians in Syria celebrate the anniversary of the historic Fast of Nineveh
Nov.30, 09

Egyptian State Security Accused of Cover-up in Muslim Riots
Nov. 29, 09

Recent Turkish Military Planned Attacks on Christians Nov. 25, 09

Muslim Anti-Christian Riots Spread in Upper Egypt, Video
Shows Looting and Burning
Nov. 25, 09

Assyrian contributions

to the Islamic civilization Nov. 24, 09

Muslim Violence Ongoing in Egypt -- Christians Plead For Help Nov. 22, 09

Basra Chaldean prelate celebrates Mass with U.S. troops Nov. 22, 09

Fraidon Atoraya's Music and biography Nov. 21, 09

Sweden's Shame, Violence against Assyriska Nov. 20, 09

Kurdish militia forces Christian Assyrians, the Yezidis and
the Shabak to speak Kurdish
Nov. 18, 09

Iraqi Christians Seek Return, Sense Extinction Nov. 18, 09

Minority Communities in North Iraq Appeal for Protection Nov. 18, 09

Turkish Hackers Facilitate Assyrian Book Sales Nov. 15, 09

Re-integration of Iraqi Refugees Nov. 15, 09

Violence against minority communities in Nineveh Province Nov. 10, 09

U.S. State Department annual International Religious Freedom Report 2009 Nov. 10, 09

Disappearance, Forced Conversions and Marriages of Christian Women in Egyt Nov. 10, 09

Assyriska rises to Sweden's promised land Nov. 10, 09

Militants Kill, Kurds Intimidate Iraqi Minorities Nov. 10, 09

Ancient canal network is recasting archaeologists' understanding of t
he Assyrian capital
Nov. 3, 09

Refugees Turn Their Backs on Iraq Nov. 3, 09

Asking for international investigation about who is terrorizing Iraqi Christians
Nov. 3, 09

October = Teeshreen-I

Foreign Degrees in Hand, No Jobs in Sight for Assyrian Refugees Oct.15, 09

Biblical music with lyrics drawn from the Aramaic and Greek texts Oct. 14, 09

Iranian Female Converts Charged With Apostasy, Spreading Christianity
October 14, 2009

British MPs Call for Investigation of Kurdish Militia in Assyrian Assassinations
October 14, 2009

Assyrian refugees- After ruin in Iraq, a new Life in Minnesota Oct.r 13, 2009

Who is driving non Arab minorities out of Iraq? October 10, 09

U.S. government is failing to help Iraqi refugees resettle Oct. 10, 09

Conflict Between Arabs and Kurds in the Nineveh Province Oct. 10, 09

Christians in Iraq fearing more violence October 07, 2009

Iraqi Government's Inaction about Crimes against Christians Oct. 07, 09

Meeting With Iraqi Official about the plight of Assyrians Oct. 06, 09

Marathon in Brussels Calls Attention to Assyrian Persecution Oct. 05, 09

Body of Kidnapped Assyrian Businessman Discovered in Iraq Oct. 04, 09

Kidnapping of Christian Assyrians in Kirkuk Continues Oct. 04, 09

Iraqi Arabs Wary Of Joint Patrols With Kurds In North Oct. 04, 09

Angelina Jolie Urges World Not to Forget Iraqi Refugees Oct. 04, 09

Anti-Kurdish Militia Demonstrations in Iraq's Mosul Oct.r 02, 09

“Assyrian Medical Society Responds to Refugee Medical Concerns”
October 02, 2009

September = Eilool


The US and the Internal Islamic Threat Sept. 29, 2009

Assyriska defeats Syrianska 1- to Zero Sept. 28, 2009

Kidnapped Christian Doctor Released in Northern Iraq: Police Sept. 28, 2009

Fire Destroys Assyrian Club in Sweden Sept. 28, 2009

Assyrian city of Nineveh Sept. 27, 2009

Kidnapped Assyrian Doctor in Iraq Freed, in Critical Condition Sept. 23, 2009

Statement of Pax Christi Delegation which visited Iraq Sept. 22, 2009

Muslim Man Beheads Christian in Egypt Sept. 21, 2009

Bishop of the Assyrian town of Qaraqosh explains why it's demographic balance should not be changed. Sept. 19, 2009

Assyrians in Iraq Hope for Autonomous Region Sept. 14, 2009

Chaldean Church denial of its Assyrian Heritage Sept. 14, 2009

Kurdish and syriac to be taught in Turkey for the first time Sept. 11, 2009

Cry My Beloved Nation Sept. 11, 2009

Christian Soldiers; Protecting towns in the Plain of Nineveh Sept. 07, 2009

Assyrian Empire: Bringing Civilization to the Near East Sept. 07, 2009

Sargis Agajan; Assyrian Christian Leader in Iraq Has Hope ! Sept. 03, 2009

From Security Withut Freedom to Freedom Without Security Sept. 03, 2009

AUA youth of America statement Sept. 03, 2009

Syria Opens the Gateway to Humanity for the Assyrian Medical Society
Sept. 03, 2009

Assyrian Refugees in Transit; Documentary Film Sept. 02, 2009

August = Thabakh

Assyrian Medical Society Sponsors Patients in Syria August 31, 2009

Chaldean Church promoting ethnic identity based on Church affiliation
August 31, 2009

Ancient Assyrians Accomplishments August 27, 2009

Assyrianhistory-accomplishments.html August 27, 2009

150 christians of Iraq face deportation in Sweden August 27, 2009

3 Iraqi refugees who crossed the Rio Grande and landed in a federal lockup August 25, 2009

A “Shrine” for almost every Assyrian child that has visited US for medical treatments August 21, 2009

Unique football rivalry in Sweden between two Assyrian migrant teams August 19, 2009

Pregnant Christian Dragged Naked Through Pakistani Police Station
August 18, 2009

Yalo; a novel, By Elias Khoury August 14, 2009

Polish Aid Organization Visits Assyrian Refugees in Syria
August 14, 2009

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Letter to President Obama August 14, 2009

Australian Conference Calls Attention to Endangered Assyrians of Iraq August 14, 2009

University of Toronto archaeologists find cache of cuneiform tablets in 2,700-year old Assyrian temple August 13, 2009

Two Iranian Women Arrested for Converting to Christianity
August 13, 2009

UNPO Publishes Report on Kurdistani Elections August 12, 2009

Iraq's Christian Community At Risk of Disappearing. August 12,2009

Assyrian Refugees Expelled From Sweden -- Fleeing Again
August 11,2009

Attacks on Iraqi minorities soar August 11,2009

Iraq attacks raise fears of renewed ethnic tensions
August 11,2009

Large explosion rocks a village near Bartalah, kills dozens
August 10,2009


Mr. Obama, What About the Christians of the Middle East?
August 9, 2009

Bombing Christian family in Mosul August 9,2009

The Kurdistan region's Election Results for Our people
August 7, 2009

How to steal minorities voting rights, the Kurdish style?
August 7, 2009

Desperate plea for help came too late for ancient Assyrian leader August 7, 2009

Iraq's Assyrian Christians Find Temporary Home in Kurdish North August 6, 2009

Resolution on Genocide Committed by Ottoman Empire
August 6, 2009

Pakistan Must Abolish Blasphemy Law August 5, 2009

Christianity's long, storied tradition in Iran August 5, 2009

Business Models in Antiquity. August 2, 2009

Christian in Mosul deny the discontinuation of attacks
against them.
August 2, 2009


Tamuz = July

"I am Assyrian, not Kurdish. We were here first and now we are treated as strangers." July 29, 2009

Q&A: Iraqi Kurdistan elections July 29, 2009

July 29, 2009

Local Assyrians protest Iraqi church bombings July 29, 2009

Iraq’s Kurdish Region Elections, Derailed July 28, 2009

Patriarch: ‘Our survival depends on the unity of Christians’
July 27, 2009

Gunmen kill Iraqi Christian outside factory July 27, 2009

July 26, 2009

Coptic Human Rights Organization Condems recent Church Bombings in Iraq. July 25, 2009

Some Christians express doubt that their representatives will "obtain all their rights." July 24, 2009

Supporters Of Iraq's Assyrians Rally In San Francisco. July 23, 2009

Iraq Steps Up Security Measures for Christians.
July 23, 2009

US Lawmakers Send Letter Regarding Assyrians to Iraq's PM. July 22, 2009

Assyrian Medical Society helps Two Young Visitors from Iraq to Receive Vital Medical Care
July 22, 2009

Statement by the Executive Committee of the Council of Churches about persecution of Christians in Iraq. July 16, 2009

Amnesty International condemns attacks on Christian minority in Iraq. July 15, 2009

Shameful attacks. July 15, 2009

7 Iraqi Churches Bombed Within 48 Hours
July 14, 2009

Why is Britain Deporting Persecuted Christians? July 14, 2009

The Desperate Plight of Iraqi Christians July 13, 2009

Kurds, Arabs Cooperate; Christians Suffer July 13, 2009

Iraq Curfew in Some Christian Areas After Church Bombs July 13, 2009

Virgin Fatima Church in Mosul Bombed July 11, 2009

Assyrian Medial Society – Turkey Mission Press Release. July 11, 2009

Aramaic; The language of Christ is not dead in the Syrian village July 05, 2009

Video of British Parliament Report on Assyrian Persecution - Kurds Stealing Assyrian Land!
July 03, 2009

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dhimmitude
July 03, 2009

Secretary of Sate Hilary Clinton's Town Hall Meeting With PRT Leaders and Iraqi Partners
July 02, 2009

Khzirun = June

Britain's Indifference to the Plight of Iraqi Christians emphasised in the House of Commons June 27, 2009

USCIRF Expresses Concern Over Reported Attacks on Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt June 27, 2009

In Nineveh, tensions between Iraqi Kurds and Arabs simmer June 25, 2009

Dominican sister vows to remain in Iraq despite increasing violence June 24, 2009

Parliament of the Kurdistan region to ratifies the territory constitution June 24, 2009

Turkish Court Rules Against Assyrian Monastery
June 24, 2009

Iraq Kurds pass new constitution to include Kirkuk June 24, 2009

Fear of Massacre Grips Christian Village in Egypt; Crops Destroyed June 24, 2009

Muslim Mob Attacks Church and Loots Christian Homes in Egypt June 20, 2009

Christian Coptic Twin Boys Struggle Against Forced Islamization June 20, 2009

Organization Helps Injured, Ill Iraqis
June 20, 2009

A member of Drafting Kurdistan Constitution Describes Our Clergies interference in Politics as a "major crime" June 20, 2009

Assyrian Refugees in Sweden Caught in Political Struggle June 19, 2009

Autonomy and the Assyrians of Iraq
June 16, 2009

Motion in the UK Parliament for the return of our Churches June 16, 2009

Assyriska versus Syrianska; World's Most Competitive Football Contest June 10, 2009

Assyrian Medical Society Without Borders, Without Passports June 10, 2009

Sweden's New Asylum Policy
June 10, 2009

Rosie Malek-Younan Awarded Assyrian Woman of the Year June 10, 2009


The war on Christianity in the Middle East
June 4, 2009


Iraqi Christians in need
June 2, 2009



April 09 - May 09 - June 09

February 09 - March 09

January 09 - Dec. 08

Sept. 08 - Oct. 08 Nov. 08

June 08 - July 08 - August 08

April 08 - May 08

February 08 - March 08

December 07 - January 08

October - November 07

August - September 07

June - July 07

May - April 07

February - March 07

December 06 - January 07

October, November 06

August, September 06

June, July 06
March April May 06
February 06
December05 Januray 06















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