Experts: Immigration of Middle Eastern Christians threatens diversity
Photo courtesy of alalam
By BISHOY RAMZY

CAIRO: The murder of the Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya and the violations of discrimination again them in Syria raised a state of controversy over the position of Christian minorities in the Middle East as a whole.

Many experts stressed that the brutal approach adopted by the extremist groups in Syria, Libya, and Egypt threatens religious diversity in the region.

British writer Robert Fisk quoted Saudi Islamic preacher Tarif Al-Khaledy, who said “the immigration of Christians from the Middle East is a heavy blow to the Islamic civilization,” describing it as one of the terrible developments witnessed in the region. In his article in the British Newspaper The Independent, Fisk said Khaledy criticized the Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi’s performance, describing him as a clown.

Egypt’s Catholic Church spokesperson Rafik Greish described the brutal attacks that target the Christians in the Middle East as genocide launched by extremist groups. He said that such approaches were to retaliate against the Copts for their support of the June 30 demonstrations. He described the attacks as systematic that targeted the churches after the ousting of Morsi.

Thousands of Syrian Christians chose leave their country and transfer to neighboring states including Jordan and Lebanon, Griesh said in a statement to The Cairo Post on Monday. Others turned to Western countries, seeking sanctuary. He mentioned the Iraqi Christians left their country in increasing numbers due to the sectarian conflicts in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion in 2003.

He warned of the repercussions of the increasing immigration from the Christians in the Middle East, saying, “The region will lose its diversity, while Christians will lose their citizenship.”

Deputy Head of Egypt’s Evangelical Church Andrea Zaki blamed the ascent of Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries after the Arab Spring, causing a state of panic that dominated the Christians in the Middle East. He said that a large number of Christians turned to leave their countries due to the extremist approaches adopted by the new extremist Islamist leaders.

Regarding the situation in Egypt, Zaki told The Cairo Post, “Immigration among Copts increased during the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood due to their failure to contain their fears.” He said immigration decreased after Morsi’s ousting despite the brutal attacks they still faced.

The government needs to improve the economic situation and restore the security to reassure not only the Copts but the community as whole, Zaid said.

Rights activist and former Chairperson of Egyptian Organization of Human Rights Hisham Qassem blamed the extremist culture in the Eastern communities to push religious minorities to leave their countries. He said such approaches forced Egyptian Jews to leave the country after 1952.

Qassem told The Cairo Post that the matter is not limited to other religions but it extends to Muslim Shiites. He said they also suffer from discrimination due to social stereotypes that dominate our communities.

He stressed the need to activate a discrimination law to achieve equality among citizens regardless of their religions, gender, or political views. He said the Egyptian government should work to issue a unified law to build the worship places upon unified standards.

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