Hugh Fitzgerald: An update on the “islamochristian”


Hugh Fitzgerald: An update on the “islamochristian”
 /Jihad Watch/

The phenomenon of the “islamochristian” deserves wider attention, and the word wider use. An “islamochristian” is, in its strictest sense, a Christian Arab who identifies with and works to advance the Islamic agenda, out of fear or out of a belief that his “Arabness” requires loyalty to Islam. Islamization by the Arab Muslim conquerors of Mesopotamia, Syria, and North Africa was a vehicle for Arab imperialism. This imperialism, the most successful in human history, convinced those who accepted Islam to also forget their own pre-Islamic or non-Islamic pasts. It caused them, in many cases, to forget their own languages and to adopt Arabic — and in using Arabic, and in adopting Arabic names, within a few generations they had convinced themselves that they were Arabs.

Some held out. The Copts in Egypt today are simply the remnants of a population that was entirely Coptic, and that has suffered steady and slow asphyxiation. How many of Egypt’s Arabs are in fact Copts who fail to realize this, much less have any sympathy or interest in how their Coptic ancestors, out of intolerable pressure, assumed the identity of Arabs?

In Lebanon, the mountains provided a refuge for the Maronites, by far the most successful group to withstand the Muslims. And most Maronites are quick to make the important distinction that, while they are “users of Arabic,” that does not make them “Arabs.” When they claim that they predate the Arab invasion (which of course they do) and are the descendants of the previous inhabitants of Lebanon, the Phoenicians, they are greeted with ridicule. But why? Where did the Phoenicians go? Did they just disappear? It is far more plausible to believe that the Maronites and the others in Lebanon are, most of them (for how many real “Arabs” actually came from the Arabian peninsula to conquer far more numerous populations of non-Arabs?) the descendants of those Phoenicians. The Maronites recognize this; the Muslims do not, because for them the superior people, the people to whom the Qur’an was “given” and “in their language,” are the Arabs. The sense of Arab supremacy comes not only from the fact that the Qur’an was written in Arabic (with bits of Aramaic still floating in it), but because the Sunna, the other great guide for Muslims, consists of, and is derived from, the hadith and the sira, and reflects the life of people in 7th century Arabia.

Thus one sees the forcibly-converted descendants of Hindus, the Muslims of India and Pakistan, full of supposed “descendants of the Prophet” who are identified by the name “Sayeed.” It is as if, in the middle of a former British colony, say Uganda, black Africans gave themselves such names as Anthony Chenevix-ffrench or Charles Hardcastle, and dressed like remote Englishmen at Agincourt, or Ascot, and insisted, to one and all, that they were indeed lineal descendants of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen, or Hereward the Wake, or Ethelred the Unready.

Yet when those whose ancestors were forcibly converted to Islam (and force can be not military force, but the incessant and relentless pressure of dhimmitude, which will over time cause many to give up and embrace the belief-system of the oppressor) and adopted the names, and mimicked the dress and the manners and customs of Muslims — which are essentially those of a distant time and place (Arabia, more than a thousand years ago) — we do not smile or think it absurd. A few Muslim “intellectuals” in East Asia occasionally suggest that local customs and ways, even local expressions of music and art, ought not to be sacrificed to the Sunna of Islam, but to no avail.

And so strong is the power of Islam among the Arabs, so ingrained is their desire to ward off Muslim displeasure, that unless they do not feel themselves to be Arabs but a self-contained community (Copts, Maronites) that has managed to survive, they are very likely to reflect the Muslim views and promote the Muslim agenda.

Nowhere can this be seen better than among the “Palestinian” Arabs. Michel Sabbagh is only one example. The Sabbagh who gave $6.5 million to support John Esposito’s pro-Muslim empire at Georgetown was a “Christian.” (Note to James V. Schall: can you convince Georgetown’s administration to sever its now-embarrassing tie to Esposito? At some point he, and Georgetown, have to part ways, for the sake of Georgetown’s reputation and continued support from alumni.) The gun-running icon-stealing Archbishop Hilarion Cappucci was, in name, a Melkite Greek Catholic; he was, in his essence, a PLO supporter.

Islamochristian promoters of the Jihad — beginning with the Jihad against Israel — include a few “Palestinian” Presybterians who have carefully burrowed within, and risen within, the bureaucracy of the Presbyterian Church in America (no names here, but you can easily find them out), and Naim Ateek, who comes to delude audiences of Christians about the “Palestinian struggle” even as the Christian population of the “Palestinian” territories has plummeted, since Israel relinquished control, from 20% to 2% — out of fear of Muslim “Palestinians.”

Nor, of course, do Michel Sabbagh and his ilk pay much attention to the situation of Christians in the Sudan, or Indonesia, or Pakistan. Why would they? It would get in the way of their promotion of the Islamic attempt not only to reduce Israel to the dimensions that will allow them to go in for the final kill, but to seize control of the Holy Land. What, after all, do you think would happen to that Holy Land if Israel were to disappear? Do you think the Christian sites would be as scrupulously preserved? As available to pilgrims? Would Christians walk around Jerusalem if it were under the rule of Muslims with quite the same feelings of security that they do now?

The above is, in full, an article I wrote and published here at Jihad Watch in 2005. Since I wrote it, the Christian communities of Iraq (Chaldeans, Assyrians) and Syria (Melkites, Orthodox, Roman Catholics) have been decimated; the Coptic community in Egypt been under continuous assault, and not only during the hyper-Islamic regime of Morsi; and Christians and churches have been attacked in Pakistan, the Philippines, and Indonesia by Muslims. And Muslim terrorists attack Infidel Christians in Dar al-Harb itself, in Paris and London and Amsterdam and Madrid and Moscow, as they have in New York, Washington, Boston, Fort Hood, and San Bernardino.

Given the past decade of Christian victims of Muslim despoliation and delirium — and with the list above I was just getting started — one might have assumed that the “islamochristian” was no longer to be found. But just the other day, Gregory III Laham, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and All the East, surfaced to solemnly declare: “We, the Arab Christians, always defend Islam and our Muslim brothers – no one defends Islam like the Arab Christians do.” Robert Spencer took the good Gregory to task, pointing out that this classic encapsulation of the dhimmi phenomenon had never won the Melkites any special favors, and that they had suffered just as much from Muslim aggression when they parroted this kind of nonsense as they would have had the good Gregory tried verbally to smite the Muslims hip and thigh. Perhaps, Spencer suggested, the time for dhimmitude had long passed, it never having panned out, and it was time for assorted patriarchs of the East to try a different and truer tack — what, after all, did the Melkites at this point have to lose? How much worse could their situation be under the Muslim thumb than it already is? Perhaps, if he could break with the past, and come to his senses, the Melkite bishop might recognize his first duty: to warn his own flock, and to warn other Christians too, about Islam.

A second Christian who has had nothing but good things to say about Islam is one Craig Considine. He’s a mere lean lecturer in sociology, not so grand as Gregory, but even more obtuse. Not being an ethnic Arab, he doesn’t fit the strictest definition of the “islamochristian,” but as a declared Christian (Roman Catholic) working full-time to defend and promote Islam — and to accuse Israel, unsurprisingly, of every possible crime — he deserves a place in the pantheon here. Craig Considine’s studies — he’s been burning the midnight oil for years — have revealed to him that “Christians and Muslims share a similar ‘jihad.’ This ‘jihad’ is one of non-violence, the love of humanity, the perfection of the soul, and the search for knowledge.”

This will come as a surprise to any Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus who, at many different times and in many different places, have been on the receiving end of that Muslim “non-violence, love of humanity, perfection of the soul, and search for knowledge.” It came as a surprise to me. It no doubt comes as a surprise to you. And as I can add nothing to Robert Spencer’s dismemberment of Considine, readers are directed to this death on the installment plan here and here and here and here.

The ability of people to deny an unpleasant reality can be impressive. Look at Patriarch Gregory. Look at Craig Considine. Be suitably impressed.