Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Sar Shalom

threefaithrsI'd like to take a break from the usual pattern of blogging being about strongly stating what one says is the state of the world, whether or not one actually has the information to buttress that viewpoint, and ask a question to try to close a gap in my knowledge.

My question is, what were Jewish-Christian relations like in the Islamic world over the past century? The one thing I know is that by the time of the Israeli Independence War, there was an alliance between the Christians and the Muslims against the Jews. This pattern, of the Middle Eastern Christians both allying with the Muslims and antagonizing the Jews, has mostly persisted since then, as can be seen in Tariq Aziz being part of the late Saddam Hussein's government and Hanan Ashrawi being as strident as any Muslim associate of Fatah in attacking Israel. In recent decades, there has been a fraying of the Middle Eastern Christians' alliance with the Muslims, and more recently, fraying in the antagonism between Middle Eastern Christians and Jews, most notably in Father Gabriel Nadaf's efforts to convince his flock to throw their support behind Israel.

I have some speculations about the underlying factors of the aforementioned pattern, but they are merely speculations. Does anyone on this blog know any information that would shed some light on how this pattern emerged or any sources that might provide such information? Barring that, is there any place to disseminate this question where someone would have veritable information?


  1. When Arabs were straight Nazis and Communists they had little need for sectarian warfare between Muslims and Christians. The fact that there's little documented history underlines that. Before that when the Turks administered their empire at arm's length they too saw little advantage in stirring up sectarian bloodshed against the Christian minority. At least until the 20th century.

    But there's never been much in the way of "Christian Nationalism" in the Mideast. They seemed happy to be a religious minority with no aspirations to erect a new Christian nation amidst the Muslims. Had they tried their plight would be as it is now - extermination. Had they been successful in creating one, it would be a besieged nation like Israel but at least the Christians would have somewhere to flee to.

  2. The Muslim-Christian alliance in the Middle East, during the 20th century - to the extent that there was such an alliance - failed.

    When Arab nationalism gave way to political Islam, the Christians ran for the hills.

    The truth, as I assume you are well aware, is that Christians are being driven out of everywhere in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel.

    The Christian defeat in Lebanon was hugely important and almost entirely ignored by the west.

    They will never highlight this truth in the western press.

    Raymond Ibrahim, of Coptic descent, is the go-to guy.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion about Raymond Ibrahim, seems like a reasonable start.

      As to the dissolution of the Christian-Muslim alliance, that is noted in my post, described as occurring in recent decades. I could be wrong in my timing, that is the alliance could have begun to fray even earlier.

      However, that does not negate the fact there were elements of an alliance, at least back at the time that both Christians and Muslims collaborated to try to exterminate the Jews in the Middle East. As one example, Michel Aflaq, one of the founders of of the Ba`ath Party, was born Greek Orthodox Christian.

      One component of being allied to the Muslims was being antagonistic to the Jews. While Middle Eastern Christian antagonism to the Jews has shown some signs of weakening very recently, it has been more durable than their alliance with the Muslims.

      One possible frame of reference is an Arab adage I came across when I followed things regarding the Iraq War: "Me and my brothers against my cousins. Me, my brothers and my cousins against the world." For Muslim-Arabs, fellow Muslims are their brothers, Christians are their cousins, and Jews are outsiders.

  3. Nick Gray, from Christian Middle East Watch is helpful as well.

    CMEW is a useful and honourable organisation of British Christians:

    Nick Gray also writes at the UK website The Commentator. The Commentator.com