11
May
09

On air: Is the Pope standing up for an oppressed minority in the Middle East?

Pope in Middle EastPope Benedict began his tour of the Middle East on the weekend by visiting Jordan over and praising the the ‘courage’ of Christians who live there. Christians are in the minority in the Middle East, and from the Copts in Egypt to the Chaldean and Assyrian Christians of Iraq, many have suffered from victimisation and attacks on homes and churches because of their faith. Today we’re going to hear what it’s like to be a Christian in the Middle East.

According to some estimations up to two-thirds of Iraq’s Christians have fled the country since the 2003 invasion. They’ve become targets for Islamic insurgents who insist they convert to Islam, or face death.

In Egypt, hundreds of Christians have claimed they’ve been victimised by the government in the recent H1N1 breakout. 300, 000 pigs, farmed only by Christians, were killed despite no evidence the flu was being carried by pigs.

Are Christians an oppressed minority in the Middle East? Or are they suffering exactly the same trials and tribulations as everyone else?

In the Palestinian territories it was traditionally the Christians who were the wealthiest layer of society. Over the last 30 years there’s been a Christian exodus from Bethlehem, Jerusalem and the West Bank. Is it just that their difficulties are noticed more because more of them have the resources to leave than Muslim Palestinians. Should ordinary Christians be doing more to stand up for their brothers and sisters in the Middle East?


64 Responses to “On air: Is the Pope standing up for an oppressed minority in the Middle East?”


  1. 1 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    May 11, 2009 at 14:32

    “Should ordinary Christians be doing more to stand up for their brothers and sisters in the Middle East?”

    Yes, but I think everyone should be standing up for their neighbors and communities more, all over the world. And unfortunately I feel that in general, kindness motivated only by religion is usually a weak thing. Is kindness worth pursuing even when it’s not genuine or genuine only in the context of religion? That’s a whole other conversation, but I personally would say no.

  2. 2 Alby
    May 11, 2009 at 14:39

    Historically, Islam had tolerance for Christians and Jews built into the Koran. Of course, in any society in times of trouble, the dominant beat up on the minorities. This is natural it seems. This has always been true in Christian countries, or Catholic or Protestant countries where the minorities got picked on.

    Even in Israel today, despite the history Jewish people have endured as minorities in dominant societies, now adult Gentile step-children of Russian emigres are treated as second-class citizens and can’t even have civil weddings. They like many other immigrants who come alone with out large families are seen a not-marriageable material in that society. The big question is why do these Religious texts teach and reinforce this kind of thing?

    Now with trouble everywhere brought on by Western meddling for oil, labor market arbitrage for exploited labor, and military presence in Israel, dominant cultures will beat up on minorities. It is happening in the US against Latino immigrants and Gays of all stripes, a so called Christian society, in Christian Italy against Gitanes, India against Christians, China against Tibetans, where else??? I’ll stop there to keep it short this time!

  3. 3 Rashid Patch
    May 11, 2009 at 14:53

    Over the last 60 years, the native Palestinian Christians have been almost completely “ethnicly cleansed” from Israel. From near 30% of the population, they are now under.5%. Most of the Christians left in Israel are non-Palestinians from other countries.

  4. 4 Alana Ronald
    May 11, 2009 at 14:55

    Christians are experiencing oppression not “in the mideast”, but more precisely, in countries surrounding Israel which have a large number of Islamisofacists.

    This oppression does not exist in Israel. All sites of worship of whatever faith are preserved and protected, as well as the right to practise these religions. What Christians are suffering is what Jews suffered living in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc.

    These extremists are a vocal minority, who, in the very specific case of Palestine, have hijacked a nation of people who might be peace loving if these forces did not affect their livelihoods. People should know that terror organizations like Hamas prey on THEIR OWN PEOPLE as well,

    Unfortunately, too often until it arrives in one’s backyard one’s fellow religionists do not attend to the needs of their “brothers in faith”.

  5. 5 Jennifer
    May 11, 2009 at 15:13

    Yes, christians are victimized in the middle east because the majority is intolerant of other beliefs.

    Our society in the us will be another middle east soon unless we do something about the intolerance and oppression of Islam. We are already changing laws allowing for that religion to be above the law and authority and it will continue…

    God bless the pope.

    • May 11, 2009 at 15:58

      Christians may be victimiized in the Middle East, but then again, muslims are being victimized as well. I can only remember that moment, when i heard, that a woman in the McCain election campaign said to the republican candidate, she wouldn’t vote for a muslim. Even if Obama was muslim, it still shows how other religious minorities are victimized in other parts of the world as well and we have to be very careful to point the finger and start understanding each other.

  6. 7 Matt Roberts
    May 11, 2009 at 15:32

    I stand against organized religions of all stripes, in whose names the greatest of historical evils have been perpetrated. At the top of the list is Islam, which, I maintain, does indeed include institutionalized violence within its creed. Number Two is Christianity, and its leading exponent Roman Caholicism; both are, historically, violent and corrupt in spite of their creed. Number Three is Judaism, which has succeeded admirably in the unwarranted rape of the Holy Land. I believe the current Pope is the symbol of the double-speak politician, hollow at his core, and as far from infallable as any human being can possibly be. Whenever I hear his heavily German-accented voice, all I can think of is: Hitler Youth. He has managed to insult Arabs and Jews equally in his short tenure as Pontiff. I think he just needs to shut up, go back to the Vatican, and sit on his golden throne until the next Pope is elected, accompanied by the Holy White Smoke. What a total farce.

  7. 10 Nanci
    May 11, 2009 at 15:32

    My experience in speaking to Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem and the rest of the Occupied Territories is that they are not a persecuted minority there. They immigrate for the same reason Palestinian Muslims do, oppression and harrasment and human rights violations by Israel. By and large the Christian and Muslim population in Bethlehem and the rest of the OT are supportive of one another. Christians voted for Hamas in the elections because they felt Hamas better represented Palestinian nationalist desires than Fateh did..

    in other parts of the Middle East. Christians are persecuted. Ironically American Christian Zionist evangelicals are doing more to oppress Palestinian believers by their unqualified support of the State of Israel than anything Hamas or other Muslims in the OT could even imagine doing.

    The situation of Christians varies in each ME country—it is complex and varied/ and there is no one size fits all persecution of Christians.

  8. 11 Steve in Boston
    May 11, 2009 at 15:34

    If one looks at how the vibrant Jewish communities in almost all the Muslim-dominated countries of the Middle East were forcibly expelled in the 1950’s through the 1970’s, one can only conclude that Muslims are among the least tolerant people in the world today. Christians are only getting the same treatment that Muslims give to everyone else who fails to conform.

    Are they wise, or should they be more tolerant of all races and faiths like Europe tries to be? Let me answer by raising the provocative point that it won’t be all that long before the WHYS question of the day will be “are Christians an oppressed minority in Europe?”

  9. May 11, 2009 at 15:37

    In Lebanon, the Christians are a big force. Beside their economic and cultural influence, the Lebanese President must be according to the constitution, a Christian.

    In other Arab countries, Christians can be successful business-persons , but they have little political power because they are just a small minority.

    Concerning the slaughter of 300,000 pigs farmed by the Christians in Egypt is an exaggerated act. This amounts to religious “cleansing” as Christians were deprived of one of their staple food. I wonder if the Egyptian government would have dared to order the slaughter of all sheep if there was a health scare about them from WHO.

    As long as there is rising Muslim extremism in the Middle East, the Christians will continue to fear for their safety. When there is true democracy in the countries where Christians live, they can have the place they merit not as Christians but as citizens with their full rights.

  10. 13 Patti in Cape Coral
    May 11, 2009 at 15:39

    I wasn’t aware that Christians in particular were targeted for oppression. It has been such an unholy mess for such a long time in the middle east, it seemed to me like everyone is being victimized at one time or another. I think it will be too difficult, if not impossible, for Christians or any non-Islamic people to call for religious tolerance in countries where the Islamic religion is so much a part of the government because there is no separation of church and state.

  11. 14 Michel Norman
    May 11, 2009 at 15:43

    I would take issue with Alby about Christianity being discriminated about in Israel. When the British conquered the holy land in 1917, they gave the representatives of each religion authority over conducting marriages for the members of their religion. Unfortunately they gave it to ultra-orthodox represenatatives of each religion, who are still renowned for their intollerance. Christians are no more discriminated against than I am as a Secular Jew.

    In Bethlehem today, Jesus as a Jew would be most unwelcome, and his followers the Christians are already a minority. Islam is remarkedly intollerant of other religions, which is why 99% of the Jews fled Moslem countries in the middle of the last century. The Crusaders, sorry Christians are in a slighlty better condition, but still viewed as infadels.

  12. 15 VictorK
    May 11, 2009 at 15:54

    What’s wrong with the BBC? You sometimes have an overly cautious relationship with the truth.

    The mistreatment of Christians in the Middle East, and indeed of all non-Muslims, is a matter of historical record. This mistreatment is a matter of sharia, and falls under the heading of ‘dhimmi’, i.e. the systematic humiliation and status of permanent inferiority of all non-Muslims. This treatment pre-dates the Arab-Israel conflict by centuries. Your own commentary details instances of this mistreatment, which is purely religious in motivation. And yet you still think it worthwhile to debate the subject as if there were any room for doubt?

    One can only hope that you will include non-Muslim expert commentators like Bat Ye’or, Andrew Bostom, Ibn Warraq, Srdja Trifkovic, Bruce Thornton and Andrew Spencer: Muslim spokesmen will – as we know from experience – simply propagandise for and whitewash their religion. And btw, Christians were once a majority in every single one of the countries/regions you mentioned: they’ve quite literally been bullied and terrorised into minority status over 1,400 years.

  13. 16 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    May 11, 2009 at 15:58

    And, for what it is worth, good for the Pope to use his office and I would daresay celebrity, in some respects, in standing up for victimised people, in particular victimised Christians in the Middle East!

  14. 17 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    May 11, 2009 at 15:58

    Hi WHYSers!

    In response to the question, I am not sure who ‘ordinary Christians’ are, but certainly we all could be doing more to help, whether in the specific case of Christians in the Middle East, or people suffering in other parts of the world! It would do us all a world of good if more of us were to offer to assist in whichever we can! In service to others is a good motto to live by, I believe!

  15. 18 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    May 11, 2009 at 16:05

    Christianity was never a strong religion in the Middle East and this is still the case today. It is even a weak even a weak Israel where it claims its own origin where it is accused of heresy.
    However the current issues with Christianity in the Middle East stem from its association with the west which is deemed to be the oppressor. The most recent persecution surged after the now famous and ongoing war on terror. Though the world has so many religions, Islam and Christianity have remained bitter rivals despite sharing a common origin. Consequently, there is never peace where these live side by side and the so called religious tolerance is just mere hypocrisy because both end up taking sides and sometimes celebrating at times for wrong reasons whenever their antagonist are on the receiving end of pain.

    I feel strongly that these two religions are not about spirituality but politics and materialism given that none of them has been spared divisions into small sects with differently defined agendas. If there are true spiritual Christians and Muslims today, they are few and their own majorities do not care what they say.
    What the Muslim world seems to tell us is that Christianity is the religion of the oppressor thoug they may not mouth this. Christians too have at times taken this view whenever it suits them. These attitudes have prevented these two religons to heal there differences because of competing interests that they seem to share. This is the minefield that the Pope has to traverse and clearly, one can plainly see that he is a courageous Pope.

  16. 19 Anthony
    May 11, 2009 at 16:08

    I think it’s kinda funny when Muslims talk about how hard it is to be Muslim in the states, but try trying to be pretty much ANY other non-Islam religion in a Muslim nation.

    I think it’s great that someone is standing up for this unfair unjustice.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 20 Anthony
      May 12, 2009 at 17:59

      OK, Mr. Namesake. By extension, just try being an atheist in any theocracy, such as the United States.

      The wonderful experience of becoming an US citizen was marred for me because the presiding judge permitted only the religious form of the ceremony, without presenting the secular alternative.

  17. May 11, 2009 at 16:12

    The Pope’s visit to the middle east reflects my mind back to the late Pope, John Paul, who also use to do same around the world per selected countries. But if I may ask, why must the Cristians be victimized in the Middle East,and who is victimizing them? Are we not all serving the same God? May the pope succeed in uniting them with their opprerssors.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  18. 22 Patti in Cape Coral
    May 11, 2009 at 16:20

    This Pope certainly seems to thrive on controversy.

  19. 23 archibald in oregon
    May 11, 2009 at 16:26

    “The Catholic community here is deeply touched by the difficulties and uncertainties which affect the people of the Middle East,” Benedict said, speaking in English at the Mass. “May you never forget the great dignity which derives from your Christian heritage…….”
    Christians certainly do not have clean hands when it comes to religious oppression. The Popes words ring quite hollow, as usual, his legitimacy is compromised by the inherent hypocrisies and exclusivity in Catholic rhetoric. As for Christians living in the Middle East, what do they expect at this point in history? It is just a continuation of a cycle which began centuries ago. Maybe it is religions and their leaders that are flawed, encouraging membership and solidarity leading to deaths and oppression over outdated doctrines………..
    @ jennifer, “Our society in the us will be another middle east soon unless we do something about the intolerance and oppression of Islam. We are already changing laws allowing for that religion to be above the law and authority and it will continue. ”
    This is an absolutely ridiculous statement, considering the “us” (lower case is quite appropriate), spreading its intolerant and oppressive democracy all over the world………..I do not understand how people can continually trot out this isolationist poppycock.

  20. 24 Rachel in California, USA
    May 11, 2009 at 16:27

    As a Christian, I do not believe that Christians should stand up for our Christian brothers and sisters against all others.

    Jesus taught that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, and that neighbors are whoever is in need, regardless of religion. That means that we should look for ways to heal the brokenness in the Middle East and elsewhere, helping all the people who are suffering and looking for ways to reconcile enemies and create peace, justice and well being for everyone.

  21. 25 Martha. A . Kampala Uganda
    May 11, 2009 at 16:27

    i was disheartened by the killing of pigs farmed by christians even when there is no proof that pigs are in anyway a source of swine flu. Do muslims know or/ and have what it takes to attract people to their religion?? one thing, for sure, is that brutality can never work.

  22. 26 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    May 11, 2009 at 16:41

    Evangelical Christians feel they are doing non-believers a favor by bringing them the Good News and converting them to their faith.

    Muslims believe much the same thing: that everyone should be Muslim, and that the world would be a better place if everyone was. “Militants” go further and feel free to murder anyone who doesn’t share their faith–and this also includes other Muslims who do not share their particular brand of Islam.

    Sure, the Pope is standing up for an oppressed minority in the Middle East. It won’t do any good, though. Believers believe what they believe and no amount of reason will change that. Makes me glad I’m a non-theist.

  23. 27 John Somebody
    May 11, 2009 at 16:42

    Strange how the intro says nothing about the Christian minority in Israel, oppressed by zionists. For a clue, search on the recently retired Fr Manuel Musallam, his exellent relations over years, with oppressed, Palestinians by zionists, and the lack of recognition of his work, by the Pope, and his predecessor.

  24. 28 gary
    May 11, 2009 at 17:10

    “Should ordinary Christians be doing more to stand up for their brothers and sisters in the Middle East?”
    If all references to specific religious denominations and locations in this question are removed, then I agree it should be so. Every person must see the sufferings of every other human being as intolerable.
    Sadly, there is no possibility for Papal infallibility in ordinary politics. His words should not have favored members of his own church; but should have been spoken for all against injustice. Heaven knows there’s plenty to go around in this part of the world
    g

  25. 29 deryck/trinidad
    May 11, 2009 at 17:18

    No the pope isn’t standing up for the oppressed minority. Is he taking any concrete pragmatic action? Not as far as I know. Instead I THINK HE IS TRYING TO RAISE THE PROFILE OF HIMSELF AND THE CHURCH.

  26. 30 deryck/trinidad
    May 11, 2009 at 17:24

    I would expect a holy man like the pope to discard his robes and really meet the people who are suffering and offer something meaningful to them, so they can see that he is human as they are and that he is touched and moved to real action by their affliction instead of only using rhetoric.

  27. 31 Jennifer
    May 11, 2009 at 17:33

    Please ask your experts to discuss this article:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/026073.php

    “The Dept. of Justice reports that there are “more than 35 suspected communes and more than 30,000 members spread across the US, all in support of one goal: the purification of Islam through violence.”

    Ask them if this hostility is occurring using violence here, what is occurring to people who are of a different religion in these individuals home countries?

    Where is the respect for differences or the tolerance that is supposed to go hand in hand with Islam?

    • 32 Patti in Cape Coral
      May 11, 2009 at 18:28

      Religions very rarely, if ever, show any respect for differences or tolerance, although there is lip service to this effect. The new testament of the bible states that it is more important to show love to your brethren than to squabble over petty differences, but Christians can’t even stop arguing amongst themselves, much less show respect to other religions. The Koran says that Christians, Jews, and Muslims are all brothers of the book, but obviously, this is not practiced either, and anything other than Islam is viewed with suspicion.

  28. 33 Nanci
    May 11, 2009 at 17:33

    I don’t think the purpose of the Pope’s visit to the Middle East is to stick up for persecuted minority Christians there per se. He is there to encourage fellow Christians but his purpose is more political—to be a broker of peace in the Middle East and to be seen as relevant as a diplomat in the conflict.

  29. 34 Vijay
    May 11, 2009 at 17:34

    Is the Pope standing up for an oppressed minority in the Middle East?

    The Pope represents Catholics not all Christendom.

    In the Middle East like a lot of undeveloped, backward uncivilised parts of the world,might is right,power flows from the barrel of a gun,facts on the ground matter and how many divisions do the Christians have?

    They are weak and will be oppressed when the society they live in is under stress.

    One can be civilised and point out that expulsion and brutalisation of Christians in Muslim countries will effect negatively Islamic populations in the West , damage the reputation of the country and discourage investment or be uncivilised and expel muslim communities in the west on one pretext or another and deny entry to new aspirant migrants.

    I am sure there even right wing US christian advocates of the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth doctrine.
    tooth policy which says if they kill one of yours you kill one of theirs

  30. 35 Tom K in Mpls
    May 11, 2009 at 17:36

    Talk about a yawner question. The pope is a politician who’s constituency crosses national borders. Like all politicians, he panders to his people and does what he can to gain power for himself and his people. He is no different from others and what he is doing is unremarkable.

    Power will always shift. Without military action it will shift slowly. Those with the least power will always be victimized to various degrees. They will always make the most of it to gain power. It is the human way.

  31. 36 John in Salem
    May 11, 2009 at 17:52

    I would think that someone who is supposed to be the press spokesman for the Supreme Intelligence of the Universe would be supportive of ALL oppressed minorities everywhere.

  32. 37 Abram
    May 11, 2009 at 18:04

    I think leaders of Christian churches and organizations are doing very little to defend and fight for the lives and rights of Christian minorities all over the World. Solidarity is a Christian virtue.

    • 38 Tom K in Mpls
      May 11, 2009 at 18:20

      Abram, solidarity, unity against others, is what the pope is fighting. You need to rethink your position unless you feel you are in a position to force others to accept whatever treatment you wish to subject them to.

  33. 39 Enagha
    May 11, 2009 at 18:47

    Frankly, i think that people have the right to religious freedom. Being a minority or a majority we all have to be respectful of everyone’s beliefs. If any adult needs to be what he/she wants to be, it is a decision for that individual to make and not a country or family.

  34. May 11, 2009 at 18:49

    Email from Mary in Oregon, USA:

    people have been killing each other in the name of “religion” since there was a religion. each thinks they are the “right one” it would be nice if we could agree on the basic premise that no mater what the deity – the main focus should be doing good and taking care of each other. i believe we will all be surprised when we get to the Beyond as to who all is there. Love is the most important thing. but- unfortunately – humans won’t change.

  35. May 11, 2009 at 18:50

    Email from Steve in the USA:

    Someone wrote in that it was the Christians that invaded Muslim lands in the middle east during the crusades. While that’s true, if you choose to ignore that Muslims invaded Europe before this happened, and occupied parts of Spain until the late 15th century. Muslims also invaded Eastern Europe from Turkey and made it all the way to Vienna. When we cite to history, look to all of history, and don’t ignore important parts.

  36. 42 Keith Moore
    May 11, 2009 at 18:51

    I think that the Pope is not doing a very good at all. He would be the last person I would look to for protection or defence of the religon! Realy hope he will do a better job in general! Keith in Prague!

  37. 43 alan
    May 11, 2009 at 18:55

    I really dont understand why you are conducting such a topic for discussion. Religion is an outdated topic in the world now in most developed areas. Religion is only discussed and practised in the same fervor as in the midlle ages only in some part of the world, particularly in areas suffering from various crises. In my opinion its in the notion of being religious to suppress other religions and outrightly reject the belief of others.

    Darwins theory has still not been accepted by the so called papacy. If it was not for these guys that suppressed science and technology before the renaissance we would have been far better off. I dont think we require religion to cultivate values within us. Its already within us, our moral values, religions only distort it….

  38. May 11, 2009 at 19:01

    I’ve seen a lot of fundamentalist christians in this country who seem to have this basic need to feel persecuted. The world is out to get them, and you can’t tell them otherwise. From my non-religious point of view, it is only in their mind.

  39. 45 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    May 11, 2009 at 19:32

    The Pope it seems is a political figure; we know this but this only widens our confusion. Everyone interested in Middle East is doing so for their own interests. The diffulty here is to find one who is neutral because this is not clearly a case of good guys versus bad guys. It is a case of intolerance which has been worsen by the arming of these antagonists by outsiders.

  40. 46 Mahmoud
    May 11, 2009 at 19:40

    Pope’s tour of the Middle East is just not more than christian missionary (persuader) and I don’t think he will do more except fatigue.

  41. 47 Luci Smith
    May 11, 2009 at 19:41

    Unfortunately, this Pope seems to put his foot in his mouth every time he opens it.
    It was a shame that a young, South American cadidate was not chosen as Pope. This German Theologian seems to be pretty divorced from reality, which seems to be the norm. If the Catholic Church is going to be a good influence on the World and on its members, a “modernization” is necessary. Issues like the abuse of children by priests need to be brought out into the open. As far as I can see, this Pope is just marking time and basically is more conservative than the last one.
    Alan, above says that religion is an outdated topic and I think that leaders like this Pope help to make us all feel that it is outdated and pretty irrelevant.

  42. 48 Roberto
    May 11, 2009 at 21:00

    RE: “” Should ordinary Christians be doing more to stand up for their brothers and sisters in the Middle East? “”
    —————————————————————–

    ———- Ordinary Christians are like many ordinary peoples elsewhere, they are too caught in day to day tasks to keep their heads above water to know much of other culture’s dilemmas.

    Since the creation of Israel by UN in 1947, there has been a mass exodus of Jews and Christians from Muslim dominated middle eastern states. The rise of political and religious fundamentalism has only exacerbated the problem as did the Cold War and current global economic fraud and meltdown orchestrated by the US government and Wall Street.

    Always a glimmer of hope, but the uncivilized, greedy way of the world seldom abates for long.

  43. May 11, 2009 at 21:00

    Yes. Christians are indeed thoroughly oppressed. Not only by Muslims but also Jews!

  44. 50 Tom D Ford
    May 12, 2009 at 01:27

    Oppressed minority?

    That would imply that the “All Powerful One God” is not powerful enough to protect his own.

    Or he just doesn’t care.

    Or more likely that he just doesn’t exist and his followers are betting their lives on a losing proposition.

    Not much of a “God” huh?

    Why would anyone choose to be on the losing Gods’ side?

    • 51 ani
      May 13, 2009 at 11:44

      Tom, you speak like one of the thieves that was crucified with Jesus. May God forgive you because you do not know what you are saying.
      The bible says “blessed are those who are pesecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.

  45. May 12, 2009 at 03:59

    I feel more strongly than ever that it is a great burden
    and tragedy for humanity that something as tenuous
    as the belief in the supernatural should raise the
    prism of animosity between peoples of different
    regions and customs. This pope, if anything is more
    likely to make matters worse. Humanity once had
    so much potential with a beautiful planet and a
    universe beckoning to our minds and imagination.
    We have wasted it all with our obsession with a
    bunch of nonsense about the dark country after
    death and the fanatical, hysterical ranting of
    genocidal maniacs and gifted visionaries. Now
    with a sea of people on a suffering planet which
    can support only 2.56 billion the surge of collective
    madness is too great to stem the tide.

  46. 53 Delphic Oracle of Oz
    May 12, 2009 at 06:27

    The Pope is just doing the PR spin for the Catholic Church. If everyone put the KIND back into HUMANKIND, there would be no need for religion and so no wars – just wordsmith warriors……..OK….I can dream, can’t I?

  47. May 12, 2009 at 08:16

    not only when the pope and other religious heads realise that ALL ARE PART OF A PIECE ,AND PIECE OF A WHOLE “,
    WORLD WILL BE a WONDER PLACE TO LIVE .

  48. May 12, 2009 at 12:02

    As co -author of “Waking God” and “The Sacred Rota,” I find religious leaders, definitely including the Pope, do not walk their talk. Their history has divided, not united peoples and their actions have resulted in untold suffering. When The U.S. President meets with leaders in a troubled part of the world, at least their are usually promises of aid. But all that religious leave are a bunch of cheap words and platitudes. Now if the Pope were to pledge the riches of the Church to end poverty and hunger; ask that all of his flock hit the streets for peace and justice, then I might have a different view. But this never has and probably never will happen. Time to put away the “worn out dogma.”

  49. 56 Methusalem
    May 12, 2009 at 13:07

    Steve said: “….Christians that invaded Muslim lands in the middle east during the crusades. While that’s true…”
    The crusaders went to Jerusalem to fight for their brothers and sisters in the lands of Judea and Samaria. This particular part of the world was never a Muslim land before Islam invaded it during the 7th century. Even the Quran acknowledges this fact.

  50. May 12, 2009 at 13:08

    I think everywhere minorities exist, they are victims of some kind of oppression or the other.I doesn’t have to be because of your religion, it can be because of your colour, tribe, background etc.
    Secondly, the “oppression” of Christians in the middle east is not the fault of Islam because Islam does not tolerate oppression. I must also make a point that the application of Islamic law in Islamic countries to non-muslims is no way an oppression. If we live within a law, we must abide by it although we may not necessarily agree with it.
    For countries like Iraq, we can all agree that’s its not only muslims that are suffering, everybody is attacked by the other, sunni against shia, arab against kurd.
    Finally we see a number of Christians leaving their countries to work in the Middle East in countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar etc. Will that be happening if Christians were oppressed in the Middle East.

  51. 58 Matthew Houston
    May 12, 2009 at 15:24

    I thought it was odd that he did no kneel at the western wall. He comes across to me as more of a sovereign than a religious leader.

  52. 59 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    May 12, 2009 at 16:28

    Was it here that I read about Beirut being a tourist destination with a rich diversity of religious expression up until recent decades? It was elsewhere I heard that before the turn of the century, Jews lived peacefully with Muslims in Palestine, and who doesn’t know that before the CIA made it’s stunning debut in Iran (and elsewhere) in the fifties, that country was a thriving democracy leading the way for Women’s rights in the Middle East?

    I don’t have time to read the general consensus today, but I do hope it’s not awash with westerners complaining about how “those people” have been fighting amongst themselves since biblical times.

  53. 60 Waleed/UK
    May 12, 2009 at 20:34

    Well, christians have lived in Iraq and the Middle East for thousend of years and hve been very happy and well, however what few incidents and minorities do in that region to their follow country men and women does not reprsent the majority, it’s I guess the same here when muslims get attacked, victimised even in jobs by a minority of narrow minded or evil thinking people from another faith/religion.

  54. May 13, 2009 at 00:58

    “I must also make a point that the application of Islamic law in Islamic countries to non-Muslims is no way an oppression.” I am not sure women would agree with this.

  55. 62 Dennis Junior
    May 13, 2009 at 05:58

    I hope that Pope is standing up for the minority in the Middle East….But, his record so far has to be proven….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  56. 63 lupu singer
    May 13, 2009 at 15:13

    MY NAME IS LUPU AND I AM A ISRAELI CHRISTIAN LIVING IN TEL AVIV.
    I THINK THE VATICAN AS TO DO MORE FOR THE CHRISTIANS ALSO AOUND TLV.
    IT IS HARD FOR US TO LIVE AS CATHOLICS HERE,YOU CAN HARDLY FIND CHRISTIAN BOOKS HERE IN TLV.
    I HAVE MUCH MORE TO SAY.

  57. 64 lugman ransford al-muzzammil
    May 16, 2009 at 14:53

    thank you hope there isn’t any abuse, its what we need to remind the world out there.


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