BEHIND THE MEDIA LINE: MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS

Date: 97-05-03

Forwarded by John Worrell

From: nawad@adc.org (Nada Awad)

Reply-to: nawad@adc.org (Nada Awad)

An on-going media mantra is that Christians are being extensively persecuted in predominantly Islamic countries.

A. M. Rosenthal in the New York Times has devoted at least two columns recently to persecution of Christians world wide.

The Congressional Human Rights Caucus, headed by Rep. Tom Lantos recently had a hearing on subject (Washington Times, 4/30/97), as did the Senate subcommittee on the Near East and south Asia.

This campaign seems timed to upset relations between Christians and Muslims as the debate over the status of Jerusalem is coming to center stage.

One of the main proponents of this anti-Islamic message is Bat Ye'or who is currently promoting her book, "The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude."

A New York Times book review by Arthur Hertzberg (6/15/86) notes that Bat Ye'or's work is a "justification of Israeli maximalism" and is "both untrue and the preamble to disaster." Bat Ye'or will be at a public symposium "The Impact of Islamization on International Relations and Human Rights" along with such noted Islamophobes as Steven Emerson on Sunday, May 4 1:30-5pm Ascension & St. Agnes Episcopal Church 12th & Massachusetts Ave, NW (Near Metro stop) Washington, DC (Registration $5 at the door).

Another proponent is Nina Shea, author of "The Lion's Den," who recently testified that "Militant Islam is one of two political ideologies (the other being communism) that have consistently oppressed Christians..." Zionist persecution of Muslims and the oldest of Christian communities is clearly off the agenda.

ADC encourages people to raise their voice. Challenge these people on talk shows and events (and question the organizers of such events, which can be church groups ignorant of how this issue is being manipulated.)

Here is a letter from the ADC that the New York Times published on February 16, 1997 in response to one of the A. M. Rosenthal columns on this subject: To the Editor: A. M. Rosenthal (column, Feb 11), upset by China's apparently anti-Christian actions, hopes that "Israel shows the U.S. the path to righteousness by ending arms trade with China." Is that the harshest thing to be said of Israel?

Israel at its center discriminates against Christians and other gentiles. Non-Israeli Jews can settle on land taken from expelled indigenous Palestinians.

And Israel is not renewing the residency status of Palestinians -- both Muslim and Christian -- in Jerusalem who have other citizenship. This is defacto ethnic cleansing.

END

Sam Husseini Washington, Feb 11, 1997

The writer is media director, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee 4201 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20008, U.S.A.

Tel: (202) 244-2990, Fax: (202) 244-3196

E-mail: adc@adc.org

Web : http://www.adc.org/adc/