The Palestinian Christian Bishara Bahbah paints a grim image of the lot of Christians in Hamas-ruled Gaza, however on the identical time he misleadingly describes a pollyannish model of how Palestinian Christians reside within the PA-ruled components of the West Financial institution. On this model, Christians get alongside swimmingly with their Muslim “mates and neighbors.” The reality could be very completely different.
As a part of his try and whitewash the therapy of Christians within the PA, Bahbah refers back to the Pact of Umar as having “assured rights and spelled out obligations” of Christians in a Muslim-dominated land. He maintains that “the pact primarily represents the dedication of Muslims to respect and shield the spiritual and property rights of Christians and Jews.” Many students consider the Pact of Umar to be a later fabrication, however regardless of the reality of when it was composed, and by whom, it’s hardly a dedication by Muslims to “respect and shield” the spiritual and property rights of non-Muslims. It’s, somewhat, an exhaustive checklist of what non-Muslims should do in the event that they want to stay alive and in a position to apply their religion, in a Muslim polity.
Right here is the checklist:
- Prohibition towards constructing new church buildings, locations of worship, monasteries, or a brand new cell. It was additionally forbidden to construct new synagogues.
- Prohibition towards rebuilding destroyed church buildings by day or night time, in their very own neighborhoods or these located within the quarters of the Muslims.
- The worship locations of non-Muslims have to be decrease in elevation than the bottom mosques on the town.
- The homes of non-Muslims should not be taller in elevation than the homes of Muslims.
- Prohibition towards hanging a cross on the Church buildings.
- Muslims needs to be allowed to enter Church buildings (for shelter) in any time, each in day and night time.
- Obliging the decision of prayer by a bell or a sort of Gong (Nakos) to be low in quantity.
- Prohibition of Christians and Jews towards elevating their voices at prayer occasions.
- Prohibition towards educating non-Muslim youngsters the Qur’an.
- Christians have been forbidden to indicate their faith in public, or to be seen with Christian books or symbols in public, on the roads or within the markets of the Muslims.
- Palm Sundayand Easter parades have been banned.
- Funerals needs to be carried out quietly.
- Prohibition towards burying non-Muslim useless close to Muslims.
- Prohibition towards elevating a pig subsequent to a Muslim neighbour.
- Christians have been forbidden to promote Muslims alcoholic drinks.
- Christians have been forbidden to supply cowl or shelter for spies.
- Prohibition towards telling a lie about Muslims.
- Obligation to indicate deference towards Muslims. If a Muslim needs to take a seat, non-Muslims ought to rise from their seats and let the Muslim sit.
- Prohibition towards preaching to Muslims in an try and convert them from Islam.
- Prohibition towards stopping the conversion to Islam of some one who desires to transform.
- The looks of the non-Muslims must be completely different from these of the Muslims: Prohibition againstwearing Qalansuwa (sort of dome that was used to put on by Bedouin), Bedouin turban (Amamh), Muslims sneakers, and Sash to their waists. As to their heads, it was forbidden to comb the hair sidewise as is the Muslim customized, they usually have been compelled to chop the hair within the entrance of the pinnacle. Non-Muslims shall not imitate the Arab-Muslim method of speech nor shall they undertake the kunyas (Arabic byname, corresponding to “abu Khattib”).
- Obligation to determine non-Muslims as such by clipping the heads’ forelocks and by at all times dressing in the identical method, wherever they go, with binding the zunnar (a sort of belt) across the waists. Christians to put on blue belts or turbans, Jews to put on yellow belts or turbans, Zoroastrians to put on black belts or turbans, and Samaritans to put on crimson belts or turbans.
- Prohibition towards using animals within the Muslim customized, and prohibition towards using with a saddle
- Prohibition towards adopting a Muslim title of honour.
- Prohibition towards engraving Arabic inscriptions on signet seals.
- Prohibition towards any possession of weapons.
- Non-Muslims should host a Muslim passerby for at the least Three days and feed him.
- Non-Muslims prohibited from shopping for a Muslim prisoner.
- Prohibition towards taking slaves who’ve been allotted to Muslims.
- Prohibition towards non-Muslims to guide, govern or make use of Muslims.
- If a non-Muslim beats a Muslim, his Dhimmi safety is eliminated.
- In return, the Muslim ruler will present safety for the Christian believers who observe the principles of the pact.
Who, studying this checklist, thinks that in right now’s “Palestine” (i.e., Gaza and P.A. territories), the Pact of Umar “primarily represents the dedication of Muslims to respect and shield the spiritual and property rights of Christians and Jews”? It’s an inventory that places the Christians firmly of their completely inferior place, the place they need to strictly adhere to dozens of guidelines that stress their inferiority to Muslims, or if not, they lose their safety, which might imply they could be killed. After all, most of those restrictions are now not imposed, however the atmospherics they created way back – that’s, an angle of Muslim contempt for Christians that has lasted so long as Islam itself – stays, and explains why Christians in Muslim lands are by no means handled as equals, however topic nonetheless to a number of disabilities and threats. Consider how Christians in Pakistan, in Nigeria, in Egypt, in Iran all reside in concern of Muslim neighbors. And the way might Muslim attitudes be completely different, on condition that the Qur’an teaches them that they’re “one of the best of peoples” (3:110) whereas non-Muslims are “probably the most vile of created beings.”?
I recall once I was rising up within the Outdated Metropolis of Jerusalem, Ramadan was one among our favourite holidays. We shared meals with our Muslim neighbors; we watched one of the best Arabic cleaning soap operas collectively; and we beloved to listen to the voice of the Mussaher, the one that goes round earlier than dawn to wake folks as much as have their meal earlier than the quick begins. And I bear in mind the great needs of our Muslim mates and neighbors once we celebrated Christmas.
Bishara Bahbah might have fond childhood recollections of rising up in a blended neighborhood, the place the Christians shared Ramadan meals with Muslims and Muslims supplied “good needs” at Christmas to their Christian mates, however he makes an excessive amount of of this. Such anecdotal proof proves solely that some Muslims he knew have been keen to violate the Qur’anic injunction towards taking Christians as mates, and the rule that they not acknowledge – even in a greeting – the spiritual holidays of Infidels. However he absolutely is aware of there are tons of of thousands and thousands of Muslims who wouldn’t be so accommodating, and it’s they, not these childhood “Muslim mates and neighbors” who supplied good needs at Christmas, who’re islamically appropriate. .
Hamas, to you I say, we Palestinian Christians have at all times been an integral a part of Palestinian society. We’re half and parcel of the material of the nation. We love our land and nation greater than you ever will. You serve a international energy, Iran, smuggling in ineffective arms and firing them at your masters’ command.’’
Bishara just isn’t fallacious to hyperlink Hamas to Iran, which now offers it with missiles and rockets. However his repeated insistence that “Palestinian Christians have at all times been an integral parr of Palestinian society” is wishful pondering. If they’d at all times been an “integral half” of Pale, they might not have been the objects of so many assaults on church buildings, pastors, Christian faithfl. They might not be leaving the PA territories and Gaza in such numbers.
Your bigoted angle towards Palestinian Christians disqualifies you as a respectable political celebration in Palestinian politics. Your zealotry introduced intolerance and animosity amongst our folks. Come what might, we are going to liberate the folks of Gaza – each Muslims and Christians – out of your despotic clutches. Those that supported you shall be solid out as traitors and racist collaborators. You’ve got misplaced all semblance of legitimacy within the eyes of the Palestinian folks and the world. You signify nobody however your pitiful selves.
It’s a disgrace there isn’t a land bridge between the West Financial institution and Gaza that might enable Palestinian safety forces to march into Gaza and forcibly rid it of the most cancers referred to as Hamas. And those that help and finance you and those that prepare you and harbor your leaders are as responsible as you’re.
Let or not it’s a lesson to anybody who tries to insult, marginalize or belittle Palestinian Christians, whether or not from inside or from outdoors: The day will come when Palestinians – Muslims and Christians and many individuals world wide – will rid Gaza from you and your tyranny.
Oh, and Merry Christmas.
It pleases Bishara Bahbah to consider that it’s only Hamas in Gaza that has managed to spoil the nice and cozy relations between Palestinian Christians and Muslims. The “intolerance and animosity” that Muslims exhibit towards non-Muslims just isn’t new — it’s 1,400 years previous. His fantastical perception – assuming he actually has satisfied himself of this — that Palestinian Muslims and Christians have at all times gotten alongside swimmingly till Hamas got here alongside to spoil, in Gaza, that historic concord, is fake. There are numerous info that inform a special story of Christian-Muslim relations.
Listed below are a few of these info:
Nablus was dwelling to greater than 3,000 Christians simply 40 years in the past; now there are solely 700 left within the metropolis.
Tulkarm had a group of two,000 Christians 30 years in the past; it now numbers 12 households. “We’re making ready to maneuver overseas to a spot the place we will reside a greater life as stated Reverend Dahoud Dimitry, head of Tulkarm’s Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, which was burned to the bottom within the September 2006 riots following the publications of the Muhammad cartoons in Danish newspapers.
The Christian inhabitants of Bethlehem has fallen to 14% of the inhabitants, from 85% within the1950s, to 40% in 1997, to 14% right now.Christians in that metropolis nonetheless haven’t forgotten the siege of the 1,400-year-old Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus, by 100 militiamen loyal to PA Chairman Yasser Arafat in 2002. The Muslim terrorists held dozens of Christians hostage, together with monks and nuns, desecrated bibles, emptied the church coffers, and lit sections of the centuries-old church on hearth. The previous mayor of town, Hanna Nasser, has bluntly predicted that “There isn’t a future for Christians in Bethlehem.”
Reverend Tomey Dahoud, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Taubus, a metropolis close to Jenin, has stated:. “The Islamic folks wish to kill us. That’s their precept and perception. They don’t need Christians on this nation. They don’t wish to hear our names; they don’t wish to see us. That’s the fact.” His church was firebombed within the September 2006 riots.
Even in Ramallah, which is taken into account probably the most liberal metropolis beneath Palestinian management, threats towards Christians are commonplace. Pastor Isa Bajalia, an evangelical Arab-American pastor, who had been dwelling in Ramallah since 1991 along with his spouse and son, was threatened repeatedly by a Fatah safety official from the Tanzim militia. The official demanded $30,000 for cover. On account of the threats, Bajalia was compelled to flee to Jerusalem, the place he lives safely beneath Israeli rule.
Relations between Palestinian Christians and Muslims – regardless of what Bishara Bahbah desires us to consider, have steadily deteriorated not simply in Gaza, but in addition beneath PA rule.
Bahbah is appropriate in sustaining that the state of affairs for Christians in Gaza has been particularly precarious since Hamas took management in January 2006, with the imposition of shari’ah, or Islamic, regulation. Assaults towards Christians have turn out to be commonplace. There have been a number of bomb assaults on church buildings and on the Zahwa Rosary College outdoors Gaza Metropolis. However he must have admitted as properly that within the PA territories, and everywhere in the Muslim world, the place of Christians is tough, precarious, and in some locations, insupportable.
Had Bishara Bahbah dared to inform the reality, he would have written one thing like this:
“I bear in mind from my childhood getting on properly with my Muslim neighbors in Jerusalem. Luckily they have been from tolerant households, that refused to observe the Qur’anic instructions about not befriending Christians or Jews. I used to be fortunate, for there actually are many Muslims who aren’t so tolerant, as is clear from the threats and assaults on pastors, church buildings, and particular person Christians everywhere in the PA-ruled territories and, much more incessantly, in Gaza. And in each single group the place there are Christians – in Nablus, Tulkarm, Taubus, Ramallah, and particularly, in Bethlehem, their numbers have steadily declined, irrefutable proof of the harassment and persecution they’ve suffered.
“It’s true, nonetheless, that if the situations for Christians within the West Financial institution are unhealthy, they’re much worse in Hamas-ruled Gaza. 5,000 Christians in 2006 are all the way down to 750 right now. Shari’a has been imposed. Christian church buildings and at the least one Christian faculty have been bombed. In a number of years there will probably be no Christians left in Gaza, testimony to what they’ve needed to endure and that led all of them, finally, to flee. A few of them go overseas, to Canada or Australia. Some discover refuge in Israel, which is the one place within the Center East the place Christians can freely apply their faith and have their security assured by the federal government.”
That’s what Bishara Bahbah must have written. However might he ever have allowed himself to ship such truths? Don’t be foolish.