April 30, 2002 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 93

Arab Christian Clergymen Against Western Christians, Jews, and Israel

April 30, 2002
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 93
Against the backdrop of the standoff at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, several Arab Christian clergymen - including some heads of various churches - condemned Christians in the West, particularly those in the U.S., as well as Jews and Israel. The following is a review of recent statements made by Arab Christian clergy:

Attacks on Christians in the West
Father Manuel Musalam, head of the Latin Church in Gaza, told Palestinian Authority television, "Had we lived in the days when the Church was a [real] Church that controls the world - a Crusader war crueler than the Crusader wars of the past would have been waged [against Israel]… Where is Christianity?!… We called upon them: 'Save Jesus.' But it appears that the Christians [in the West] have no connection to us… We told the Christians in the West: In Afghanistan, you moved heaven and earth to protect the Buddha statue; in your belief and ours, Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity are much greater than a Buddha statue…"

"Therefore I, the Christian Palestinian, say in all rage and daring to the Christians of the world: You are loathsome! You are contemptible! You are cowards! – because you cannot carry the message of Jesus in your hearts. The message of Jesus is one of love, sacrifice, mercy, life, and manhood, and these Christians of the world have no mercy, no compassion, no manliness, no sacrifice. I do not mean only towards us, but even towards the Jews, as not only do the Jews kill us – we also kill them, because we are in a war of self-defense…"

"We – and I say this brutally, because he who remains silent is Satan – are facing the filthy Christians of the West… We hear that the American Congress is demanding that Bush unleash Israel to slaughter the Palestinians. What kind of Christian is this?! This is not Christianity; it is not even paganism. This is Christianity of the jungle. Our New Testament is not their New Testament, our Jesus is not their Jesus, our [Church of the] Nativity is not their [Church of the] Nativity, and our peace is not their peace. I will say still more: Our God is not their God…"[1]

Father Musalam voiced similar sentiments at a meeting between heads of church in Gaza City and a delegation of Muslim clerics from the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Religious Endowments:

"The Western Christian, without love, tolerance, truth, and justice in his heart, must cast away his New Testament. The New Testament and Christianity are innocent of that [Western Christian]. If I were the head of the church where the American president Bush worships, and he came to pray, I would bar him from entering, because he has renounced the church's moral standards."[2]

During the same meeting, Bishop Alex, head of the Roman Orthodox Bishopric of Gaza, said, "Real Christianity means love and harmony, and it exists only in Palestine and the Holy Land. In contrast, Western Christianity is false. Anyone who claims he is a Christian but has no love or tolerance in his heart is no Christian."[3]

Condemnations of Protestantism and the American political leadership were voiced by the Egyptian Coptic Church as well, which typically enjoys good relations with the West via the Coptic communities in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. In an article titled "Oh Mr. Bush, Are You Christian or Crusader?" Coptic priest Marcus 'Aziz Khalil wrote:

"Israel knows how to mislead the leaders of many countries, deceiving them that [to believe] they have common interests with it… It managed to drug the leaders of those Christian countries – especially those who belong to no religion and do not know the road to Heaven, or who take religion's name and image but are totally distanced from its essence. They are manipulated by Israel, like marionettes, to destroy their religion. [Israel] has also managed to brainwash some whom it discovered to be highly susceptible because of their surly nature. Israel planted among them the spirit of hatred and rage towards the Arabs and Muslims – as it did to George Bush Sr., who attacked Iraq, and behold, it continues on its path with George Bush Jr., who attacked Afghanistan..."

"If only God would intervene to defend the world from these enemies of peace. Although they swathe themselves in sheep's clothing, they are wolves seeking to kill the flock… We Christians of the East, who in the past refused to stand by the Crusaders and stood by our Muslim brethren, are also opposed to the negative deeds of the Western governments biased in favor of Israel despite its arrogance and even though it damages the holy sites. We say to Mr. Bush: During your term, Jesus' name is disgraced by the attacks on the holy places. Are you a Christian, Mr. Bush? I doubt it. Perhaps you are a Crusader. God alone knows."[4]

Egyptian Shura Council member Dr. Nabil Luka Babawi, an expert in criminal law and a Copt, attacked President Bush in an article titled "Judas Is Back": "Today, 2,000 years since the Judas affair, the same scenario repeats itself, and the Christian rulers betray Jesus. These rulers have become the Judas of our time. They have sold out the Messiah for their own private interests, and so as not to anger the Zionist lobby in America… Perhaps the Church of the Nativity will be destroyed and turn into rubble. Bush, the head of the Christian rulers, will be responsible for what happens to it. He is proving to be the Judas of our time, for he has sold out the Messiah for the American Jewish vote..."[5]

Dr. Babawi published another article in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram slamming his fellow Copts living in the West for their failure to support the Palestinians: "Today the Jews shell the Church of the Nativity with artillery, and the Copts in the diaspora do not pressure members of the American Congress with a demand to stop the attack on the Church of the Nativity and on Al-Aqsa Mosque… Why are the American Copts and Muslims not demonstrating to condemn the behavior of the madman Sharon, who began to behave like a madman after he was hit in 1948 in a sensitive place of his body by a bullet, leaving him with one testicle only [sic]. This has affected him psychologically, and he has become a crazy psychopath using power to hide his weak point…"[6]

Elias 'Awwad, head of the Palestinian Roman Orthodox Church, said, "The Zionist movement controls European and American public opinion… For this reason, we witness a weakness in the defense of the Christian holy sites on the part of America and the European countries... These people [Western Christians] deal first of all with their interests, not their religion… In my view, they are not Christians, because they do not act according to the precepts of the New Testament…"[7]

The Bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, George Saliba, stated the following regarding Christian leaders in the West: "Unfortunately, in the West today – Europe and America – all these [Christian leaders] are not Jews, but are led by the Jews. This religion [Judaism] is the enemy of God, the enemy of people, and the enemy of Christianity… There must be an awakening among the rulers of these countries, so that they return to punishing Zionism for its evil deeds towards all people. I hope it will be soon…"

"Jesus once said to the Jews: 'You are the sons of Satan, and you do the will of your father Satan.' They answered: 'No, we are not the sons of Satan, we are the sons of Abraham.' He replied to them: 'Had you been the sons of Abraham you would be acting [in accordance with] the acts and precepts of Abraham. Therefore you are the sons of Satan…'"[8]

The Jews Throughout the Generations
Father Manuel Musalam compared the armed Palestinians in the Church of the Nativity to Jesus on the cross: "…We kneel before the Palestinian in the besieged Church [of the Nativity]. He hungers, but he is steadfast; he thirsts, but he is steadfast. These words were not born in a vacuum. The one who said 'I am hungry' when he was on the cross was our Lord Jesus himself… Our Palestinian people in Bethlehem died like a crucified martyr, on the rock guarded by the Israeli soldiers armed from head to foot who have no compassion, love, life, or tolerance…"

"The Jew has a principle from which we suffer and which he tries to impose on people: the principle of the 'gentiles.' To him, the gentile is a slave. They [the Jews] give the [Palestinians] working in Israel only a piece of bread, and tell them: 'This piece of bread that you eat is taken from our children, and we give it to you so you will live not as free men on your land, but as a proletariat and slaves in Israel, to serve us…' The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are based on this principle, and anyone who reads the Protocols feels that we are in this period with the Jews …"

"The Church, the Pope, the Christians, and the New Testament clearly state that, according to Christian belief, the ones who killed Jesus are the Jews, and there is no way to deny or renounce this… The Jews are the ones who killed Jesus; after him, [they killed] the Christians, and after them, the Muslims. Now they are again killing both the Muslims and the Christians. Throughout history, we have seen that the Jews persecuted the Christians at the beginning of the Church, and now they are again persecuting the Church, and Islam…"

"As is known throughout the world, even in our time, they always accuse the Christians… The case of Pope Pius XII is bad enough. They accused him of terrible things… They attack the Church because the Pope was not as strict as they wanted in protecting the Jews from Nazism – while the Jews found shelter only in the Church and with Christian families…"[9]

In a letter to the editor of the Egyptian Coptic weekly Watani, Egyptian Coptic clergyman John Jirjis wrote, "I do not wonder at the deeds of the leaders of the Israeli people, as they are the followers of Herod the tyrant who ordered all the two-year-old boys of Bethlehem murdered so as to kill Jesus, but failed!! They are the followers of the chief priests, who saw Jesus and his miracles and heard his precepts, yet accused him of heresy and called for his crucifixion! They are those who forced [Pontius] Pilate to crucify Jesus… although Pilate conceded that Jesus did not deserve crucifixion. They still live with their dark and cruel hearts, rejecting all the prophecies of their prophets. The sight of their bloodstained hands is not unfamiliar to the human race!!"[10]

The Coptic priest Marcus 'Aziz Khalil wrote, "From the human point of view, the existence of the State of Israel is an historic sin. It is not sufficient to deem this sin the crime of the generation; it is one of the unforgivable sins, and no means of purification will help them… The belief on which the Jews have based their state is null and void, but they have taught their sons from infancy that it is the proper belief…"[11]

The Hizbullah television station Al-Manar gave its viewers an exclusive broadcast of a lecture on "Christianity's View of the Jews" by the Bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, George Saliba, at an Islamic institute for religious studies. He said: "…As is known, the Jews think that only they are human. Only they are the sons of Adam. As far as they are concerned, all the [other] peoples have the status of beasts. Gentiles. This contradicts the message of God in the world… Do you know what they did to the prophet Isaiah?… They took him and sawed him with a wood saw, from head to foot, while he was still alive. They cut him in half…"[12]

[1] Palestine Television (Palestinian Authority), April 22, 2002.

[2] Al-Quds (Palestinian Authority), April 24, 2002.

[3] Al-Quds (Palestinian Authority), April 24, 2002.

[4] Al-Maydan (Egypt), April 22, 2002, as cited in Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), April 24, 2002.

[5] Cited in Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), April 29, 2002.

[6] Al-Ahram (Egypt), April 25, 2002.

[7] Palestine Television (Palestinian Authority), April 26, 2002.

[8] Al-Manar Television (Lebanon-Hizbullah), April 24, 2002.

[9] Palestine Television (Palestinian Authority), April 22, 2002.

[10] Watani (Egypt), April 21, 2002, as cited in Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), April 23, 2002.

[11] Al-Maydan (Egypt), April 22, 2002, as cited in Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), April 24, 2002.

[12] Al-Manar Television (Lebanon-Hizbullah), April 24, 2002.

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