Christians Suffer for Their Faith Post-Arab Spring, Says Syriac League Official

By Myles Collier , Christian Post Contributor
(Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Protesters near Tahrir Square in Cairo flee from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes after protesters removed a concrete barrier, Jan. 24, 2013.

Habib Afraam, head of the Syriac League in Lebanon, said the new regimes of the Arab Spring still behave like the old regimes and Christians are suffering because of their faith.

Afraam added that relations between majorities and minorities have not improved, and no vision has been presented for future relations.

Afraam called for a solution to the issues of accusing Christians of infidelity, protecting freedoms, respecting diversity and pluralism, equal and fair representation and maintaining rights of individuals and groups.

During a seminar titled “Christians of the East and Regional Conflict” held at the Issam Faris Cultural Center on Wednesday, Afraam pointed out that there is no Arab Spring without free eastern Christianity. He noted that the preservation of diversity and freedom is problematic for all Arabs and Muslims.

Afraam wondered whether Islamic movements believe in equal citizenship for Christians as well as the right to representation and participation in decision-making, regardless of demographics.

He emphasized that although Middle Eastern Christians contributed to the renaissance of the Arab thought, they are not involved in conflicts with regional or international organizations and have not participated in the armed struggle for power. Despite these facts, Christians are continually targeted.

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Afraam suggested these countries’ constitutions should provide equality for all citizens despite religious and national differences. He pointed out that Islamic currents must recognize the diversity of the East and understand the need to preserve eastern Christianity in everyday life.

He called for confronting fatwas of hatred, ignorance and illiteracy as well as rejecting the use of swords, murder, exclusion and bombs. He urged that all sides seek to resolve differences without resorting to the logic of jihad.