Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Palestinian columnist condemns the persecution of Palestinian Christians

While the persecution facing Christians does not always get the attention it should, the persecution facing Palestinian Christians receives even less than average.  The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has released a translation today of excerpts from a column in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam by 'Abd Al-Nasser Al-Najjar criticizing the persecution of Christians in Arab countries, with a particular emphasis on the Christian population of the Palestinian Authority.  The following are some of excerpts from this very useful article:

"Let us be honest with ourselves and courageously say out loud that Palestinian Christians are taking many severe blows, yet are suffering in silence so as not to attract attention. I do not refer here to the suffering caused by the occupation... but to actions of the past 20 years at least – that is, since the beginning of the occupation in 1967 – involving the confiscation of Christian property, especially in Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Al-Birah.

"What makes things worse is that those who are plundering [the Christians'] property are either powerful [in their own right] or are backed by various elements, among them high-ranking military officials or influential members of large clans.

"Attempts by the political leadership to partially rectify this situation have failed. Nor has the judiciary system been able to [resolve] many of the problems, which we still face today. Over the past few years, several of my Christian friends have told me of the harm they have suffered, including various threats, even death threats, for trying to gain access to their lands after they were taken over by influential Bethlehem residents.

"Furthermore, there has been an attempt to marginalize Christian culture in Palestine, even though it is rich and deeply rooted [there]. This began with [accusations] of unbelief [against Christians] – a move that ultimately harmed Palestinian society as a whole...

"Despite all the injustices [against the Christians], no one has seen or heard of any constructive action to curb it and to [defend] the Christians' rights – whether by the elites, by any of the three branches (executive, legislative, and judiciary), by non-government organizations, or even by the political factions themselves."

To read the entire article, click here.

1 comment:

Steve Attack said...

I would have liked to read the local 'letters to the editor' regarding this op-ed piece.