A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury Expresses Concern for ME Christians

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in an interview with BBC, has expressed concerns that while the disorders associated with Arab Spring may in the long term bring about more democracy, in the short term they may pose a threat to Middle Eastern Christianity. He noted attacks on Christians in Iraq, church-burnings in Egypt, and growing concerns abojut sectarian violence in Syria.

One of the ironies of the situation is that the democratic movements themselves have generally sought to embrace minorities; the cooperation of Copts and Muslims in Tahrir Square was a potent symbol. But the salafi Islamist elements also gaining a new voice have provoked clashes in Egypt, while in Syria the Christian community has often been seen as aligned with the ruling ‘Alawite minority, and thus resented by the Sunni majority.The situation differs from country to country, but the ironic reality is that Christian communities, as noted by the Archbishop, are indeed often the victims of spreading democracy.

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