Christian Solidarity International Seminar Series on the Future of Religious Minorities in the Middle East
WASHINGTON and BERN, Switzerland, March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Historian Daniel Pipes, the President of the Middle East Forum, warned yesterday at a CSI seminar in Bern, Switzerland, that the persecution of minorities in the Islamic Middle East is “acquiring genocidal characteristics.”
The video of Pipes’ 25-minute address on “Religious Minorities in an Increasingly Intolerant Middle East” can be viewed on CSI’s website, www.csi-usa.org.
Pipes stated that in medieval times, Islam was, “in relative terms, quite tolerant of religious minorities,” despite occasional persecution and permanent second-class “dhimmi” status for conquered non-Muslims. However, during the past hundred years, he said, persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Islamic Middle East has become “more systematic,” eventually leading to the destruction of the region’s Jewish communities. Christians and other non-Muslim minorities are now also in danger of eradication.
According to Pipes, conditions for minorities in the region have dramatically worsened in the past year. He cited “unprecedented examples” of anti-Christian violence in the region, including the sentencing to death of an Iranian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, and the Egyptian security forces’ recent massacre of Christians in Cairo‘s Maspero Square. “This kind of persecution,” Pipes said, is leading to “the fairly quick exodus of Christians from the Middle East.”
“The message is clear,” Pipes said: “Christianity is not welcome.”
Pipes declared that the recent anti-minority violence reveals “the beginning of an eliminationist and genocidal impulse” that has not always been characteristic of the Islamic world. He quoted a member of Egypt‘s Islamist Al-Nur Party as saying: “As long as Copts [Egyptian Christians] are alive, there will never be peace.”
Pipes concluded, “The challenge before us is to find a set of policies that allow Western governments to stand up against this persecution.” To achieve this goal, Pipes said that the spirit of “Christian Solidarity International” needs to become more widespread throughout the Christian world.
Dr. John Eibner, CEO of CSI-USA, concluded the event by stating that the aim of CSI is to foster a “coincidence of interests” betweenthe United States and the Middle East‘s Christians and other religious minorities.
CSI has issued a Genocide Warning for endangered religious minorities in the Islamic Middle East, and has called on President Barack Obama to make their survival a priority as the United States responds to the Middle East‘s ongoing political turmoil.