Posted by: Fr Chris | September 14, 2012

The Middle East: Syria, Pope, uprising

Glory to Jesus Christ. As readers know, the Middle East turmoil has taken another turn, with an exceptionally violent attack in Libya. The revelation that the stupid film clip which is the source of Muslim outrage and that was actually posted on the internet back in July was the work of a Coptic Christian is going to bring down the wrath of the masses on the long-suffering Copts.

How a Coptic Christian could be so foolish as to make and post such an insulting film is beyond me: he has a connection to a fundamentalist Christian TV studio so maybe he thought he was called to do this. I don’t know- it was stupid, and insulting, and all those things: but to kill and destroy because of it?

May God’s hand protect the Christians of Egypt from the wrath of angry young men.  Egypt has an enormous pool of poorly-educated, pious, unemployed men who are quick to follow firebrand preachers who give them a venue for their anger: not the government, not corrupt policies of the past which have created all that unemployment and injustice, but of course, us.

The horrible attack in Libya and the killing of four diplomats  has been rejected by both the government and the general populace, calling it the work of organized attackers. In Benghazi, people marched with signs reading “Sorry America” — bravo to them. Eternal rest to the souls of the dead.

Along with our embassy, the German embassy in Sudan was assaulted because of allegations that some mosques in Germany had offensive words painted on them. So storm the walls, burn what can be reached, scare the living daylights out of the Germans – and how does that help the Muslims of Germany? A peaceful protest and presentation of petitions to the embassy, that would have been – Islamic?

Mind you, Islam demands the protection of diplomats, of visitors and guests, and condemns assaults on innocent people.  It’s in the Quran and the Hadith.

So my question? How do the pious Salafi Muslims justify these calls to death and destruction? and my next question is this: Assad’s planes and tanks have been blowing up mosques in Syria – where’s the outrage? Thousands of Muslim men, women, and many children, have been brutally assaulted, tortured, and raped in Syria. Where’s the protests in front of Syrian embassies?Not one Muslim crowd has appeared at any Syrian legation throughout this butchery – not one petition or protest note.

The region demands that the West do something – their own Arab League could not do anything beyond speeches. Where’s the Muslim outrage? Where are demonstrations against the Russian and Chinese embassies whose governments have blocked all UN action? We try – we get attacked. Again.

Islamic culture and civilization can produce beautiful art, lovely architecture, and more.  But tyrants and despots have ruled with impunity – backed by US and USSR governments, it is true, but also by an ongoing complicity among the nations. So now the Arab Spring which demanded democracy and secular values is under attack in Egypt and Yemen. Those poor boys who died marching for democracy – what must their families think as they watch the Spring diminished?

Syria is a house of death:  ancient communities of Christians dating back to the preaching of SS. Peter and Paul are being pushed out, and Muslims slaughtered. And where the heck is the outrage of the Muslim streets?

But some idiot makes a film on You Tube and Americans who fought for Libyan rights are murdered and the entire compound is torched, and the safe house is assaulted thanks to someone leaking that information. Americans working in other countries for American values or to promote change or to issue visas to students are all under attack or at risk. Because of one idiot?

Cairo has 18 million people vs. a maximum of how many protesters? Eight thousand? Where are the rest of the Cairo people? And how many churches are going to burn in Egypt? How many Copts will be falsely accused of various “crimes” because of this idiot?

Someone explain it to me. I remain baffled at the inability of true suffering to raise up Muslim wrath, but an idiot makes an idiotic and offensive movie and put it up on You Tube in July – and now the whole Muslim world is enraged?

Where is the outrage about Syria? About the reversals of the Arab Spring? About the threat of an Arab Winter for Mideast Christians?

God bless and keep His Holiness on his visit to Lebanon, once a province of Ottoman Syria, a country where Christians who founded the state are becoming a minority. God bless him as he walks a tightrope of saying the right thing. And God grant that  a) Muslims would be so outraged about far worse horrors and  b) that there will not be an Arab Winter.

God help His poor suffering world.  As for the Pope who is doing his best to help God in that mission, his visit so far in the words of John Allen:

see whole text at: http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/lebanon-pope-mixes-bitter-and-sweet   Read below for excerpt I have posted:

Benedict insisted that religious freedom is not an idea unique to Christianity, or a ploy by Christians to impose their values.

“It is wrong to claim that these rights are only ‘Christian’ human rights,” the pontiff said. “They are noting less than the rights demanded by the dignity of each human person and of each citizen, whatever his or her origins, religious convictions and political preferences.”

Calling religious freedom “the pinnacle of all other freedoms,” Benedict warned that denying or suppressing it “gives rise to religious and political exploitation” and “discrimination and violence, leading to death.”

In a similar vein, Benedict had harsh words for religious fundamentalism, which he blasted as “a violent fundamentalism claiming to be based on religion.” Saying that fundamentalism “indiscriminately and fatally affects believers of all religions,” Benedict argued for a “healthy secularity” in which religion and politics are distinct but not at odds.

The early verdict seemed to be that Benedict’s blend of bitter and sweet was working.

While much of the Middle East was gripped by anti-American ferment, Lebanon, at least the area around Beirut, seemed a relative oasis of tranquility. A local newspaper noted that political infighting had declined, the government had “renewed dynamism,” and the army had succeeded in pacifying regions south of Beirut where powerful ethnic clans had finally accepted its authority.

All that could be simple coincidence, according to L’Orient-le jour, a leading Lebanese daily — or, the paper said, it could be “a papal miracle.”


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