Friday, January 13, 2012

Persecution of Christians in the World. Sabeel is silent

Sabeel is coming to town March 16-17. Sabeel is a Christian liberation theology organization based in Jerusalem. It was founded by Palestinian Anglican priest, Rev. Naim Ateek, and has been widely denounced for its
one-sided anti-Israel rhetoric.

from the ADL:
Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA): As part of the anti-Israel movement's effort to attract support from the mainstream, Friends of Sabeel—North America (FOSNA), the U.S. affiliate of Sabeel, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian Christian organization, has been particularly effective at forging alliances with a number of mainline Protestant churches. FOSNA-organized events, including multiple U.S. conferences and organized trips to Israel, regularly feature speakers who accuse Israel of racism, oppression and human rights violations. With a presence in two dozen U.S. states, FOSNA has played a central role in bridging the anti-Israel movement with mainstream American Christian groups. Some of these have responded to FOSNA's outreach by integrating anti-Israel efforts into their broader social causes, bolstering the anti-Israel movement's ability to spread its messages to wider and otherwise untapped audiences. In 2009 and 2010, Sabeel conferences from Hawaii to Washington, DC, attracted hundreds of participants, and smaller, local events take place throughout the year.

One aspect of Christian life in the Middle east that you'll never hear mentioned by Sabeel is the persecution of Christians under Palestinian rule.

From an interview with Justus Reid Weiner Palestinian Crimes against Christian Arabs:

•Under the Palestinian regime Christian Arabs have been victims of frequent human rights abuses by Muslims. There are many examples of intimidation, beatings, land theft, firebombing of churches and other Christian institutions, denial of employment, economic boycotts, torture, kidnapping, forced marriage, sexual harassment, and extortion. Palestinian Authority (PA) officials are directly responsible for many of the human rights violations. Muslims who have converted to Christianity are in the greatest danger. They are often left defenseless against cruelty by Muslim fundamentalists. Some have been murdered.
•Christian Arabs also fall victim to the chaos and anarchy typical of PA rule. This situation is fostered by societal rigidity, criminal gangs, lack of education, absence of due process, incitement, unreliable courts, and the denial of these problems-all running counter to Israel's desire for a prosperous and stable neighbor.
•Muslim attitudes toward Christians and Jews are influenced by the concepts and prejudices about their inferiority that the practice of dhimmitude has spawned in Islamic society. As dhimmis, Christians living in Palestinian-controlled territories are not treated as equals of Muslims and are subjected to debilitating legal, political, cultural, and religious restrictions.
•The human rights violations against the Christian Arabs in the disputed territories are committed by Muslims. Yet for political and economic reasons many Palestinian Christian leaders blame Israel for these crimes rather than the actual perpetrators. This motif of the transference of blame has been adopted by several Christian leaders in the Western world. Others there who are aware of the PA's human rights abuses choose to remain silent.

From the World Watch List (WWL)

WWL is a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians for religious reasons is worst. The list covers persecution of Christians of all denominations

1.North Korea
3.Saudi Arabia
13.Northern Nigeria
33.Burma (Myanmar)
37.United Arab Emirates
44.Palestinian Territories

The Palestinian territories make the list- Israel does not. Yet we can take it as a given that there will be no mention at the Sacramento Sabeel conference of the suffering of the Christians in the disputed territories.

This photo appeared in the blog Silk Roads and Siamese Smiles: This is what welcomes Christian tourists into the Israeli town of Nazereth. It is near the Church of the Annunciation.

From Dexter Van Zile "Primer on Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center"

Sabeel ...broadcasts a dishonest narrative about the Arab/Israeli conflict that:

Promotes an obsession with Jewish sin;
Promotes ambivalence over Jewish power
Encourages listeners to ignore problems in Palestinian society that undermine the prospects for Israeli and Palestinian safety and freedom;
Ignores the role Muslim extremists have played in the decline of the Christian population in the disputed territories and the Middle East;
Blames Israel, and only Israel, for the suffering of the Palestinian people; and Promotes an indifference to Israeli suffering as a result of Palestinian terror attacks.

Indifference is not a Christian trait. We remind our Christian friends to reject Sabeel when it comes to Sacramento March 16-17


Yitzhak Santis said...

Excellent post. One major mistake: Nazareth is in Israel, NOT the West Bank. I know, because I live about 5 miles from Nazareth and can see it everyday from my living room window on Kibbutz Hanaton. Please fix this glaring error.

Dusty said...

Glaring error fixed.

Janet said...

Wow, the distortions here are astonishing. You make no mention of the fact that over 60% of Palestinian Christians have fled since Israel invaded the West Bank. Christians and Muslims lived in peace for many generations before Israel declared itself king of all it surveyed. Zionist Israel wants an all-Jewish state, and that means Christians aren't welcome as citizens either. Why American Christians haven't woken up to this is beyond belief. The Israeli lobby has proved masterful at manipulating American opinion. You also make no mention of the radical settlers who harass and murder Palestinians of all religious faiths. A popular t-shirt shows a pregnant woman clad in full scarves with a target on her. The caption reads "One shot, two kills". Popular graffiti sayings include "Arabs to gas chambers". No distinction is made for Palestinian Christians. Such irrational and ungodly hatred is unbecoming of supposedly chosen people.

Anonymous said...

You might also be interested in this conference:

The Persecuted Church: Christian Believers in Peril in the Middle East

Keynote Speaker: Walid Phares, Professor and Author of The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East

Saturday, January 21, 2012

9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center
1657 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA 01701

Registration: $20/person
Student Registration: $10/person
(includes lunch and refreshments)

Recent attacks against churches in Iraq and Egypt demonstrate that Christianity faces an uncertain future in the Middle East. This one-day conference will bring together representatives from the Christian communities in Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt to speak about the day-to-day threats faced by Christians in the Middle East. Activists serving the persecuted church in Muslim-majority countries will describe their efforts to promote human rights in the Middle East.

Speakers include: Raymond Ibrahim, author of The Al Qaeda Reader. Of Coptic descent, Mr. Ibrahim is fluent in Arabic.
Juliana Taimoorazy, Executive Director of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council
Richard Landes, Associate Professor of History at Boston University and Director and co-founder of the Center of Millennial Studies at Boston University

Franck Salemeh, Assistant Professor at Boston College, Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages
Dennis Hale, Associate Professor at Boston College, Department of Political Science
Cynthia Farahat, Egyptian political activist and writer

For more information or to register, visit or contact Josh Mellits

Anonymous said...

To Janet:
Do you realize that the Christian population of Israel has INCREASED in the past decade? Its the only country in the Middle east that can make that claim.

After World War II, Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, was 80% Christian and Nazareth 60%. Now those percentages are 20% and 30% respectively. It is not Jews that have shifted the population- but Muslims. Muslims are now the majority in Bethlehem.

The Christian population of Israel has grown from 34,000 in 1949 to about 140,000 today.

Get yer facts straight, Janet.

Anonymous said...

Is Israel aiming to be "jew only" why do they bother making highway signs in Hebrew, English AND Arabic? Why did they allow the Bahai to build their world center there? Just wondering, Janet. Whats YOUR theory?

Gary Fouse said...

For what it is worth, there are a fair number of Palestinian Christians on the West Bank who are active against Israel. George S Rishmawi is a co founder of the International Solidarity Movement and active in the alternative travel agencies that brainwash Western travelers to the anti-Israel point of view. others are George N Rishmawi, and Mazin Qumsiyeh. All are active in the University of california Irvine-based Olive Tree Initiative, a fig leaf of pro-Palestinian advocacy disguised as a neutral venture to expose students to "both sides" of the conflict.

Anonymous said...

Fifty years ago, Christians made up 70 percent of Bethlehem's population; today, about 15 percent.
Indeed, the Christian population of the entire West Bank -- mostly Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic, with Copts, Russian Orthodox, Armenians and others -- is dwindling.
But, again, the story's the same in Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere in the Mideast. Practically the only place in the region where the Christian population is growing is in Israel.
In Bethlehem, Christians now feel besieged. Growing numbers of rural southern West Bankers from the Hebron area have moved north to Bethlehem in recent years. Many see the land as Waqf -- belonging to the Muslim nation. They increasingly buy or confiscate land -- and talk of laws to ban Christian landownership.