Nayla Tueni/Is the Levant of pluralism heading into darkness?


Is the Levant of pluralism heading into darkness?
Saturday, 2 August 2014
Nayla Tueni/Al Arabiya
The Lebanese parliament convened on Saturday to voice solidarity with Gaza, which is under a barbaric aggression, and to voice its rejection of other barbaric attacks taking place in Mosul, other Iraqi areas and perhaps Syria.
The difference is huge between those who are unquestionably our enemy and those who were a partner in Arabism and citizenship.
Ghassan Tueni and other Orthodox intellectuals used to consider Israel to be the biggest threat to eastern Christianity because it seeks to empty the Levant of its Christians in order to cancel diversity and fight Islam or rather revive Sunni-Shiite struggle and get Muslims occupied with their domestic struggles for 100 years. Israel would thus rest assured particularly of the burden of Western solidarity and global Christian sympathy with the Christians of the Levant.
Israel’s threat still exists today but add to it a new threat that targets the Christians first and revives Sunni-Shiite strife second. It’s the threat of Islamic takfiris who don’t respect at all any humane or cultural values. They attack this humane and cultural heritage and destroy its history as well as all consecutive civilizations.
Israel’s threat still exists today but add to it a new threat that targets the Christians first and revives Sunni-Shiite strife second
The imminent danger currently posed to the Levant serves Israel’s aims. Firstly, because it achieves its goal of emptying the region of its Christians and, secondly, of reviving a historical struggle, the beginning of which we are witnessing but without knowing when it will conclude.
However, we will not consider the crimes committed against Mosul’s Christians and other Christians in Iraq and Syria – like the abduction of two bishops – as acts of Islam as this does not only serve Israel’s aim of fueling religious struggles among Muslims and Christians but it also leads toward considering this takfiri state as Islam.
Failure of Moderate Muslims
However, Christians are in great pain over the failure of moderate Muslims’ failure in deterring this phenomenon. There’s also great disappointment due to the absence of Arab initiatives and movements aimed at pressing toward ending this genocide in Iraq. It’s as if the residents of Gaza are first-class, Arab citizens while Arab Christians in Iraq do not deserve stances of solidarity from all Arab countries.
Canceling diversity in this East certainly harms the Christians because it displaces them from their homeland but it may take them toward countries that are safer and more civilized and stable. However, its negative effects on Muslims are worse because it takes them back to the logic of unilateralism. They’d close in on themselves and go backward in terms of civilization. This would therefore paint a dark image of Islam itself and this is something we do not wish because we accepted to live together and we hold on to this as a life choice and as per our deep faith in Christianity which loves others, as Bishop George Khodor wrote in An-Nahar while discussing the meaning of fasting in Ramadan.
So will Arab initiatives that meet this approach and that express a silent majority be launched? Or will Arabs give up to this wave of crimes?
**This article was first published in An-Nahar newspaper on July 28, 2014.