Tag Archives: Sharia law


If you haven’t noticed lately, Christians in the Middle East are disappearing. The religious wars raging in the entire region are taking a deepening toil. The decline has two main causes: emigration and declining birth rates.

The irony of the May 24 visit of Pope Francis has highlighted  this problem. The percent of Christians in the Middle East is now 5% of the total population. In 1900, it was 10%. The pope’s hope had been to call attention to the problems of violence and growing religious intolerance that has created the situation. Unfortunately, this laudable intention can do little to halt the rising tide of hostility surging across Middle Eastern countries. Good people are running from bad treatment.

For example, Bethlehem in 1995 was 80% Christian. Today, it does well to claim 30% of a Christian population. For the first time in nearly two millennia, the little town of Bethlehem no longer has a Christian majority. Christians in Jerusalem once outnumbered Muslims, but today the Christians are only 2% of the population.

Here’s other examples. In Turkey, Christians once had a population of 2 million. Today only a few thousand remain. Go further South. One-half of the Christians in Iraq have left.  Where Christians were once a third of the population in Syria, they are now less than 10%.  Prior to Israel’s war of independence, Ramallah was 90% Christian. Today it is a Muslim city.

Egypt has become a good example of the problem. Fundamentalist Muslims constantly target Christians. The situation is similar to the West Bank where Muslims boycott Christian businesses. If these problems continue, bv 2020, the Middle East’s 12 million Christians will drop to 6 million. At this rate, Christians will disappear as a cultural and political force in the foreseeable future.

The problem is often not mentioned about Muslim countries for fear of sounding racist. Nevertheless, converts from Islam to Christianity risk being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, and Iran. In other countries they risk severe legal reprisals. Shadi Hami, a fellow of the Brookings Instruction, notes that in religiously conservative societies there is a constant desire for the mixing of religion and politics – not less. To put it another way, if given the choice of selecting a democratic form of government, in a democratic election, they would not vote for the democratic process.

Consequently, the West is caught in a dilemma and a bind. Contrary to democratic values, recognizing this problem in a public and formal manner sounds prejudicial and contrary to the liberal spirit that recognizes all religions as having an equal place in society. On the other hand, the Muslim world is simply not inclusive. Even politically conservative states like Oklahoma went to court to oppose Sharia Law after a vast number of voters indicated they didn’t want the Muslim system to function in their state. They lost.

Even describing this problem makes me feel uncomfortable. The issues feel too intolerant. Nevertheless, the facts remain what they are. The Western world must wake up to this dimension of the problem. The conservative, fundamentalist Muslims consider themselves to be at war with Christians and Western values. Not to pay attention to the facts is to risk being devastated –just as the Middle Eastern Christian are today.


Filed under Arabs, Christians, Faith, Iran, middle east, Violence


            As noted in earlier blogs, there’s no war like a good old-fashioned religious war. When one side believes God is one their side, it’s Katy-bar-the-door in an all out brawl to the death. I have suggested that a major problem in US policy has been the failure to recognize the Middle-East situation as fundamentally a war between Sunni and Shiite Muslim elements. We keep getting in the middle of their fight, thinking we can impose democracy and all will be okay. President Bush unintentionally demonstrated the opposite in Iraq. Sorry. The idea didn’t work.

            The Muslim Brotherhood remains a good case in point for understanding why violence continues across the region. The Brotherhood’s position is straightforward. They will impose their Muslim beliefs and Shari’s law by all means. Violence if necessary.

Two months ago, an Egyptian court banned all activities by the Brotherhood. Since the movement began in Egypt and has evolved there, who should know better than the Egyptians? They want them gone. Egypt has long history of struggle with this group. President Gamal-Abdel Nassar became a target of one of their assassination attempts and consequently tried to eliminate the Brotherhood by having their leaders executed. When Anwar Sudat came to power he attempted to use the group to help purge the Soviet element that existed in the country. He wound up being executed by them. Again forbidden, during the Murbarak era the group attempted to advance its cause through nonviolent means.

Documents seized in the West have revealed a strategy to infiltrate the Western world with a devious intent. They attempt to undermine governments like England and America by using those country’s inherent values and freedom of speech against them. While clever, the scheme is diabolically.

For example, Muslims got the acceptance of Sharia law on the state ballot in Oklahoma. The citizens of Oklahoma overwhelming voted against the idea of Sharia ever being introduced in the state. The negative vote was overwhelming. Muslims then turned around and took their loss to court claiming it violated freedom of speech. Not surprisingly, they won because freedom of politic ideals is a basic right in this country. They had used the law against itself to obtain their religious convictions.

The Moslem Brotherhood brought Morsi to power. Despite his claims to the contrary, he set out to create a religious state which would have eventually functioned under Shari’s law with all of it prohibitions against women’s rights. The military responded partially because Morsi was attempting to create a religious dictatorship. While this idea sounds extreme in the Western world, it’s simply the way the Brotherhood has always functioned.

Unfortunately, to its own peril the West has failed to grasp that a terrorist group like the Brotherhood exists as a challenge to their ideals and beliefs. The result is an increasing vulnerability to Muslim ideas and militant actions.

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Filed under Egypt, middle east, Muslims