Posts tagged ‘Mandaeans’

August 11, 2011

Arab nationalism and the non-Arabs of the Middle East

Arab nationalism and the non-Arabs of the Middle East

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times  

Kurds with a Christian priest in 1873

 

The Middle East is a vast area and sadly the non-Arab minorities and non-Arabs who have been Arabized are often neglected.  After all, you hear about the Arab Spring in Egypt but between 10% and 12% of Egyptians are Coptic Christians.  Therefore, like usual, the indigenous Copts are being marginalized by massive generalizations and how many Muslims will have Coptic blood?

It is also factual that the “Arab card” is often  equated with victimhood however this is a distortion of reality.  This applies to the colonial nature of Arab imperialism over non-Arabs and this applies to language, culture, and other areas.

In recent times millions of Africans were slaughtered by the Arab dominated regime in Khartoum, Sudan.  However, this was also glossed over because the Palestinian issue grabs the limelight even when other regional areas are more severe. 

The Kurds for example have suffered the destruction of countless villages in Turkey and they suffer systematic persecution in this nation and throughout the region.  Therefore, the Kurds who number more than 30 million in the Middle East are the biggest ethnic group in the region without any nation state.

Kurds have suffered and been victims of Arab nationalism, Persian nationalism and Turkish nationalism. Tens of thousands have perished in the last 30 years and systematic campaigns have been aimed against Kurds.

In Iraq under Saddam Hussein you had a clear Arabization campaign and poison gas was even used against the Kurds.  However, the romantic view of “Arab victimhood” persists despite the ongoing reality of Algeria where Berbers suffer, the continuing threat towards Assyrian Christians in Iraq, persecution of Copts in Egypt and endless massacres against Africans in Sudan.

When most people think about the Middle East the usual images arise, for example the religion of Islam and the role of Arabs in this vast region. However, in many societies you have a rich mosaic of differences and the so-called “Arab Street” ignores this rich diversity.

If we focus on Egypt, then the indigenous Coptic Christians who number between 8 and 12 million, depending on different data; also face enormous problems in their own homeland. After all, just like the vast majority of Arab dominated nations in this region, the Arabs conquered and colonized many parts of the Middle East.

However, despite enormous persecution in the past, and continuing problems in modern day Egypt, the Coptic Christians are a further reminder of the rich mosaic of the entire region. Also, the legacy of Coptic Christianity applies to monasticism and the “Christian heart” is still “beating” despite Islamic and state persecution in modern Egypt.

In Lebanon and Sudan you have countless different ethnic groups and Christianity is still strong in Lebanon. In Sudan the Christian faith was a strong binding force in preventing Arabization and now a new state is being created in the south which is mainly non-Arab.

It could be argued that in recent times the different African tribes in Sudan and the Kurds in northern Iraq are chipping away at the Arab colonial reality.   Berbers in Algeria are also fed-up with their second-class status and while most Berbers are Muslim their version is very moderate.  Also, in recent times it is reported that 30,000 Muslim Berbers have reverted back to the original Christian faith which flourished in this region before Islamization and Arabization.

In modern day Iraq around 23% of the population is non-Arab and this applies to the Assyrians, Kurds, Turkomans, and others. For the Assyrian Christians, Arabization and Islamization is still a great threat and hundreds of thousands have fled since America invaded Iraq. However, the Kurds have a major stronghold in northern Iraq because of military and ethnic factors.

Yet people often refer to Iraq being an Arab nation, however, the Assyrians are the indigenous people and the rich civilization of this nation belongs to the ancient Assyrian Empire. Meanwhile, today, it is clear that Arabization and Islamization is a serious threat to the Christian minority in Iraq.

However, for the Kurds, it is clear that a “real Kurdistan” remains in the offing in the future because the 30 million plus Kurds of the Middle East desire an independent homeland. Therefore, northern Iraq appears to be the most likely start of this new nation.

Yet for other minorities in Iraq, notably the Assyrian Christians, the Mandaeans, the Shabaks, the Yazidis, and Turkomans; they face a very fragile future and many may not survive the current crisis in modern day Iraq. After all, you have competing nationalistic forces in parts of Iraq which threatens all the minorities. Added to this, you have radical Sunni Islam which is bent on crushing the minorities within Iraq, therefore, Christians, Shabaks, Mandaeans, and Yazidis, are under siege.

The current crisis in Iraq, just like in Sudan, does tell us about past history. After all, the African Dinka and Nuer, and other African ethnic groups in Sudan, had to use military force in order to prevent Arabization and Islamization. Therefore, just like in modern day Iraq, where Assyrian Christians, Shabaks, Mandaeans, and Yazidis, face daily persecution, it is clear that past conquests pushed out the indigenous population or completely marginalized them.

Therefore, if the indigenous population survived then Arabization policies would be the next stage in altering the indigenous reality that once existed.  Also, many people link the Arab language with Islam and this shows the effectiveness of Arabization and Islamization.

The truth could not be more different because Pagan Arabs and Christian Arabs in Arabia before Islam clearly spoke Arabic. Also, modifications were happening in the Arabic language prior to Islam because Christian Arabs and other faiths in Arabia were adding to the Arabic language.

Berbers also face Arabization policies in Algeria and just like the Kurds who are mainly Muslim, it is clear that Islam is secondary because Arab nationalism in more potent. The same of course applies to African Muslims in Sudan. Given this, Arab nationalism is still a major threat to many ethnic minorities and the Berbers in Algeria and African Muslims in Darfur are witnesses to the mass negatives of Arab nationalism.

Overall, it is clear that the Middle East is very diverse and many minorities exist within this vast region. Meanwhile in nations like Iran and Turkey, it is clear that they are mainly non-Arab nation states. Despite this, we often hear about the “Arab street” or the “Arab Middle East.”

I have only “scratched on the surface” because you have many other ethnic and religious groups in this vast region. At the same time, you have great richness within the Syriac world and others. Therefore, much which is deemed Arab is not and the cultures which existed before the Arab conquests should not be swept away and ignored.

Arab nationalism remains potent alongside radical Islam and non-Arab Muslims and non-Muslim minorities face a hostile environment.  It doesn’t help when the outside world also marginalizes ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East.

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
January 3, 2011

Christians killed by Muslims in Egypt, Iraq, and Nigeria

Christians killed by Muslims in Egypt, Iraq, and Nigeria

 Lee Jay Walker

The Modern Tokyo Times

The blood of Christians is constantly being spilled by Muslims in Egypt, Iraq, and Nigeria
The blood of Christians is constantly being
spilled by Muslims in Egypt, Iraq, and Nigeria
 ——————————————————————————–

 

Islamic terrorists have massacred innocent Christians in the name of Allah in Egypt during New Year celebrations.  Just like Islamists blew up several Christian churches in Nigeria the week before and murdered Christians in Iraq.  In truth, the violence of 2011 will follow the same pattern towards non-Muslims which took place during the reign of Mohammed in the 7th century.

 

After all, Islam believes in the theories of Islamic jihad, dhimmitude, enslaving non-Muslims who are unwilling to become dhimmis, killing apostates, and violating all known concepts of religious freedom.  At best, minorities can survive in Islamic based societies but because of institutional discrimination, which is based on the Koran, the Hadiths, and Islamic Sharia law, then these minorities become even more marginalized and their numbers decrease because of the overt Islamization policies which are put in place.

Coptic Christians in Egypt and Assyrian Christians in Iraq, alongside other minorities in Iraq, has a rich history which pre-dates Islam. However, countless Islamic invasions led to the marginalization of Christianity in both nations and Islamization and Arabization followed. 

Today Iraq is in crisis and American military forces and other international troops have abandoned the Christians of Iraq and the same applies to major international world leaders.  Therefore, the Iraqi Christian community is in free fall and the same applies to the Mandaeans, Shabaks, and Yazidis.

The situation in Nigeria is complex because of the ethnic and religious diversity of this nation.  Also, vast areas in Nigeria have never been Islamized.  In recent times it is the growth of Christianity in Nigeria which is vibrant and this fact is clearly causing alarm bells amongst Islamists in northern Nigeria because they fear the growth of Christianity.

Therefore, the implementation of Islamic Sharia law was aimed at preventing the continuing growth of Christianity in the heartlands of Islam in northern Nigeria.  At the same time Islamic leaders hope to create a power base in order to propagate the faith of Islam to other parts of Nigeria.  The theory is simple, to keep Islam in power in northern Nigeria and to create a cushion via Islamic Sharia law and the use of violence is part and parcel of this strategy. 

Pope Benedict clearly understands that the Christians of Iraq face complete annihilation because the international community is just “standing back and doing nothing.”  Islamic jihadists and regional actors which desire to seek the destruction of Christianity in Iraq are getting their wish because you have “no backbone within the international community” and all non-Muslim minorities are expendable.

The recent terrorist attack in Egypt was condemned by Pope Benedict because he stated that “This vile gesture of death, like that of putting bombs near to the houses of Christians in Iraq to force them to leave, offends God and all of humanity.”  Pope Benedict also stated that “words were not enough” and it is clear that the Vatican desires to see real action and commitment in order to protect all religious minorities who are suffering in the Middle East.

In my article called Muslims slaughter Christians in Egypt I stated that In recent times you have had many attacks against Christians and this applies to murders, riots against Christians, attacks against Coptic Christian churches, abduction and forced rapes of Christian females, and other insidious forms of discrimination and persecution.”

“In truth, ever since the first Islamic conquest of Egypt you have had systematic persecution because religious pluralism and freedom of thought does not exist in Islam. Therefore, from the very foundation of Islam in Egypt it was clear that Christians had to pay tax (jizya) in order to be protected and non-payment could mean death, enslavement, or forced conversion”

These comments were made after Coptic Christians were killed in Nag Hamadi in Upper Egypt after attending a Christmas midnight mass.  Therefore, it is clear that you have a similar pattern and major dates of joy are seen by Islamists to be a time of opportunity in order to kill in the name of Allah and to spill the blood of Christians.

Turning back to Nigeria, it is clear that recent attacks against Christian churches and the Christian community is nothing new.  Therefore, Christians in northern Nigeria, just like the Christian dominated elite in southern Sudan, are on the frontline against the tide of Islamic jihad and Islamization.  It is essential that democratic nations wake up to the geopolitical reality of Islam and to the political and ideological nature of this faith. After all, Islam is based on devouring non-Muslims and history tells us that the end result is brutal and leads to utter backwardness and barbarity.

Non-Muslims are being devoured by the sword of Islam and this applies to Hindus in Kashmir; Buddhists in southern Thailand; Christians in Somalia; and in Iraq and Pakistan several different faith communities are facing the Islamic end game.  The list could easily be added because the Orthodox Christians of Kosovo and the Baha’is of Iran face a bleak future and many holy places have been attacked.

In my article called The Destruction of Christianity in Iraq since the American invasion I comment that Of course many American soldiers have tried to protect churches and minority communities, however, the leaders of the USA and United Kingdom are indifferent at best, or at worse, they simply do not care about their plight. Instead both nations focused on introducing Islamic Sharia law and no special zones were created to protect the Christian community and other neglected minorities, like the Mandaeans, Shabaks, Turkmens (who are Muslim), and Yazidis. This policy led to alienation and Christians and other minorities became easy targets because they had no military forces to protect them.” 

I continued by commenting that “….the destruction of Christianity in Iraq is taking place because of misguided American policies and because the Christian community is not deemed to be important. So did more Christians leave Iraq under Saddam Hussein or under the American led coalition? And did Saddam Hussein introduce Islamic Sharia law or was it introduced under the American led coalition? Both times the negative answer belongs to the American led invasion because Christians and other minorities have fled their homeland because they feel abandoned and completely marginalized.”   (http://www.aina.org/guesteds/20081017163356.htm)

It is clear that the Christians of Iraq and other minorities have been abandoned and their plight is clear for all to see.  It must be worrying for the Coptic Christians of Egypt to witness the ongoing events in Iraq because are they not also expendable?  After all, the Coptic Christians face not only the threat of Islamic fanatics but they also suffer because of institutional discrimination and this is the crux of the matter.

Irrespective of who is persecuting the Coptic Christians it is clear that America and other Western powers are only interested in their own self interests.  Therefore, the Coptic Christian community and the Christians of Iraq are not tied into economic support and policy objectives.

The Christian community will continue to suffer massacres and pogroms in northern Nigeria but the Christian community in this nation will not remain passive because they know that the future of Nigeria is in the balance.  However, the state apparatus is against the Christian community in Egypt and legal discrimination and overt Islamic policies is aimed at weakening the Christian community.  While in Iraq it is clear that the central government is weak and Christians have no protection from the Islamic sword which desires the blood of innocents. 

Lee Jay Walker

http://leejaywalker.wordpress.com