Islamization and de-christianization of the Middle East
The Middle East and North Africa are rapidly becoming Islamized, while the process of de-Christianization of the countries of these regions continues at an accelerated pace. It should be noted that the process of de-Christianization did not begin this spring, but much earlier.
A century ago, Christians in the Middle East were up to a quarter of the population of the region. In 2010, this figure was no more than 5% - from about 12 to 15 million. So, if in Syria at the beginning of the 20th century there were up to a third of the Christian population, now there are no more than 9-10%. In Lebanon, 1932% of Christians were in 55, according to 2005, up to 34%. How quickly the process of de-christianizing the region went is visible in Palestine: there were up to 85% of Christians after World War II in Bethlehem, in 2010 there were 12% left; in Nazareth, the Christian population also prevailed, now there are no more than 24% there. In Jerusalem, the number of Christians fell from 53% in 1922 to the current 2%. If at the end of the British government in Palestine there were 10% Christians, now there are no more than 1,5% on the lands of the Palestinian Authority, including the Gaza Strip. In Egypt, the number of Christians has almost doubled since 1970, about 10% of the country's population remained, and the number continues to decrease rapidly.
War factor in iraq
Interestingly, the most important factor in reducing the proportion of Christians in the population of the Middle East region was the war in Iraq, which was unleashed by the United States and NATO.
When the regime of Saddam Hussein, in which Christians lived relatively normally, was overthrown, the radical Islamists accused the Christian community of Iraq of collaborationism, they began to call them accomplices "crusaders" and "assistants of the American troops." Attacks on Christian temples, their explosions, murders, beatings and kidnappings, not to mention such “nonsense” as threats against Christian community leaders and ordinary people, have become commonplace in Iraq. A century later, medieval Jizya was restored in Iraq: a special tax for Christians, which sometimes amounts to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
The archbishop of the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Kirkuk reported in 2009, that after 2003, 710 killing of Catholics in the whole of Iraq was recorded. Hundreds of thousands of Christians fled the country, tens of thousands moved to Iraqi Kurdistan (the Kurds did not show such intolerance to Christians). As a result, Iraq was almost completely cleared of Christians, out of 1,5 million Christians who lived in the country under Hussein, no more than 150 thousand people remained in the country.
The main factor that led to the elimination of the Christian segment in the population of Iraq, was the invasion of NATO. Experts note that under Saddam Hussein, Christians in the state lived well. Most of them were well educated, the majority belonged to the middle class of the country. Christians lived mainly in large cities - Mosul, Basra and Baghdad. A Baghdad urban Christian community before the war was considered the largest in the entire Middle Eastern region.
After 2003, freedom was formally proclaimed in Iraq, including religious freedom, but in reality, the country's Constitution contains statements that prohibit the adoption of laws contrary to Islamic law (Sharia). Sharply increased religious intolerance.
After the second Lebanese war (2006 year) in Lebanon, the Shiite radical Hezbollah movement, the Christian-Maronite community, which had previously ruled the country, had lost its hegemony significantly strengthened its position. Since that time, more than 60 thousands of Christians have left the country, and according to surveys, about half of Maronite Christians are ready to leave Lebanon.
The growth of radical Islamist sentiment that has been going on since 2003, after the beginning of the disturbances in the winter and spring of 2011, in the Arab world, further complicated the situation around the Christian communities.
Conflicts of Muslims and Christians occur regularly in Egypt. Only in 2011, there were mass killings in May and October. In Egypt, for Christians, the "Iraqi scenario" began to materialize; after the fall of the Mubarak regime, which held back radical sentiments, more than 100 thousand Christians left the country, tens of thousands more were ready to leave before the end of the year. It is clear that after the victory of the Islamists in the elections, the flight will further intensify.
In Libya, the head of the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abd-el-Jalil, said that the basis of the country's legislation will be Sharia, so the laws that contradict it will lose their force. As examples, he cited laws that allow divorce and prohibit polygamy. After a negative reaction from the EU countries, Jalis tried to soften his words, but it is clear that Libya’s policy towards Islamization will continue.
The only island of stability remained Syria, where the Assad regime (belonging to the Alawite community) created a coalition counterbalance from religious minorities against the Sunni majority. But apparently, after the start of unrest in this country, Christians came under attack, and there the leaders of the radical Islamists had already put forward the slogan of creating a clean country from the Christians.
Elections in Tunisia
October 23 in Tunisia held elections to the National Constituent Council, and they (the elections) in many respects can determine the vector of the country's movement for the near future. The moderate Islamist party “Renaissance” gained a confident victory on them, she received 39% of the votes. The second and third places were taken by the Democratic Forum for Labor and Freedoms and the Republican Congress.
Its leader Rashid Gannushi spent more than 20 years out of Tunisia in exile due to disagreement with the country's leadership. He returned to Tunisia only in January of this year, immediately after the victory of the revolution and the overthrow of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.
In the coming year, parliamentarians should form a new government, create a new constitution for the country, and prepare presidential and parliamentary elections. According to the president of the Institute of the Middle East, Yevgeny Satanovsky, there is no doubt about the future of Tunisia, there will gradually "be introduced Sharia."
In addition, Tunisia will be under great pressure from neighboring countries, where secular regimes were also overthrown - Egypt and Libya, which follow the path of Islamization even faster. Plus, the crisis in the EU countries, which were key partners of Tunisia. From their side there will be no serious investments, the economic situation in the country will deteriorate, foreign trade will decrease, the flow of tourists will continue to fall. And the economic crisis will further strengthen the position of the radicals. The positions of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will be strengthened.
The time of secular regimes in North Africa and the Middle East is becoming a thing of the past, the region is in a storm zone for many years. In North Africa, only Algeria remains a rock in the raging sea, because the Moroccan king is increasingly inferior to the local Islamists and is ready to join the monarchist coalition led by the Saudis.
Therefore, if the Tunisian party “Revival” does not cope with the Islamization of the country, there is no doubt that it will be “helped” from the outside.
- Alexander Samsonov
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