tv Cross Talk RT August 14, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT
well. science technology innovation all the list of elements from around russia we've got the future covered. you know how sometimes you see a story and it seems so you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else you hear or see some other part of it and realize that everything is ok you don't know i'm tom harvey welcome to the big picture. i grew up near me airbase. i dreamed of becoming a pilot ever since i was a child. and are going to approach greece jimeno
hello and welcome to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lobo modern day exit is christian communities in the greater middle east a bit on the decline for the past century particularly over the last. a decade what accounts for this arab nationalism the advent of the arab spring or the logical outcome of western meddling and outside interventions. across the christians in the arab world i'm joined by michael model from washington he's a senior reporter for the world net daily and a former analyst for the defense department also in washington we have matthew feeney he's an assistant editor at reason twenty four seven and in london we crossed the top he is the president of arab lawyers association in the u.k.
our gentlemen cross-talk rosen i think it means you can jump in anytime you want michael can you just give us a broad stroke history of what's happened to the questions and in the middle east over the last century will focus the last ten years later go ahead well i think the christians generally have been digging in decline at one time they were particularly in lebanon for example they were the majority today they are not only a minority they are also very fractured and i think that we see that christians generally are and we've seen it also in iraq where they they've had a tremendous exit over over a period of time due to war and do all of the conditions that you mentioned through outside meddling and internal strife and also the rise of the salafism and wahhabi islam that is taking on a new bent and has begun to spread all over the middle east this is put tremendous fear into the christians we've seen it with the coptic such as well in in egypt and
they're basically christians on the run matthew would you agree with that christians on the run certainly leaving. no i would agree with that and i think it's particularly interesting michael highlights the situation especially in lebanon where christians were very prominent in the civil war more importantly i think it's we should. discuss the role of the last ten years of american foreign policy where. where you know i think it should definitely be mentioned that our adventures in iraq and afghanistan and also current policies are not exactly helping christians in their communities however well intended off foreign policy might be something that was an understatement would you like to pick up on that. i think probably we can we can start by trying to look at the position of christians in the middle east they are not christians first they are people in the turbulent
area the westerners tend to think about christianity as if it's a western religion and there are some of the arabs who have taken. christianity as a religion they forget that jesus was a not a he was the abraham was born in iraq but the turbulent situation there principly the political situation and most certainly the external factor of the biggest disaster for instance was the two thousand and three invasion of iraq by the us and europe which caused the decline of not just only the christians but you have almost four million iraqis outside the country as far as the christians are concerned almost fifty percent of the iraqi christians have escaped western embassies tend to give exit visas or entry visa to their countries if they are christians they would give them more readily and these are all factors that affect
the situation when you look at the christians say in palestine you find the israeli policy of discrimination against the christians is a major cause to the extent that for instance. who is a palestinian archbishop or was that he was sent out or either to go to prison or be banished to the vatican and he's been there for the last i think thirty odd years that he could not go back to his country so there are all these interferences and sometimes the media tends to exaggerate the effect the if we look at this syrian situation there are a lot of people being killed probably there are more than one hundred religious leader of the islamic faith who is being killed and kidnapped while probably there are four or six christian. bishops there are too many even one is too many whether they're christians or muslims but what i'm trying to say is that the turbulent situation is not geared against or pro the christians the whole region these
countries are going through such a dramatic problems and invariably it is the external forces that is causing it you know michael they're just caught in the crosshairs because i said ok go ahead jump and go ahead matthew go ahead now i just a little bit of his opinion might be ok matthew jump in go ahead. i was just on our side as opinion on what's been going on in egypt where it seems that the arab spring resulted in a government that is less friendly to the domestic christian population in the far government and that didn't seem to be externally prompted all motivated somebody want to react to that yes i would like to say to you that in fact i think this is really not correct because the christian situation of the present moment the christian population has much more rights than they've ever had in egypt the constitution was amended to take care of variety of their demands that are
presented everywhere but obviously the christians as long with other liberal movements nationalist and what have you against the government debt but the west media concentrates on the idea on the christians that the christians out against the government because the government muslim brotherhood it's a conflict between the christians and the muslims and this is really i think it's a misrepresentation of the facts ok michael you want to jump in earlier go ahead let's go to michael you know i. you know the i don't think that what you see and what you're seeing in egypt if it's true is universal for christians throughout the middle east i just got back from lebanon and syria and they are christians on the run as i told you and in lebanon in particular the christians are split but they're also finding solace and means of survival if you will by.
making the arrangements for example one faction of christians with the husband to protect them so if you see the armenian christians in lebanon doing the same thing it's a matter of survival for them at this point and if there's a spillover from syria. our solders to is to fall you're going to see tremendous flight of christians and other minorities i might add. that's going to overwhelm the middle east it will be a humanitarian disaster not just for christians but for all but that for the christians it is a matter of survival but what are they what are their their their their numbers today for example in lebanon are tremendous minority in addition to being split they they're very concerned they're the ones who are actually keeping down the palestinians from having their the full expression of their rights for jobs and for owning property because they're very fearful that that they will that the sudanese
for example will become the majority and so you have these in internal conflicts in these in each country each country is different and and i think that that if there is any massive amount of interference from outside let's say syria were to go into a full fledged regional conflict you're going to see a tremendous problem not only with christians but other minorities that will be afflicted you know matthew it's very interesting that washington could go ahead sounded like i was going to say that the west likes to promote democracy but their numbers are so small they don't usually win in the electoral process go ahead solver. yeah i hate to be different all the time but i think on the lebanese scene in fact the christian factions fighting over power it is not a matter of joining hezbollah because they get protection but because this faction wants to take power rather than the other faction and lebanon is
a very unique case because in their constitution it actually states that the president must be not just a christian but a christian modern modernized and the prime minister must be a muslim but not just a muslim but a sunni one and the speaker of the parliament must be a shiite muslim so there is this division between them which we they call democracy but i don't know if you exclude ok but i think it's really interesting from i mean i don't deny that ok but it would not be good for other countries and i don't put it on paper go ahead michael go ahead jump in the reality on the ground is different survival and survival for them means power if they don't survive their will they will they will lose power they were a majority at one time and that's when the constitution was developed to to reflect the president being the being a christian that is almost going to be subject to challenge if. the demographics are to change anytime soon what kind of protections are needed ok or is it a lost cause well i mean. but i don't necessarily
a lost cause i would say i don't think you know a country where particular positions have to be filled by a particular religion is a great example of democracy but more important than democracy is the protection of rights so that could i say that in fact the usa is now it's going it's becoming the bad example for human rights for democracy for freedom of speech it's now advancing much more than the serviette bloc did at the time on a variety of legislation from the party to the last minute of people to this. typing and when you look at its foreign policy somehow iran. is a dictatorship while saudi arabia is a democracy well in fact iran is much more democratic than saudi arabia but one of them is that it's our enemy and the other one is our friend therefore this is how we judge things and this is i think on this front i think probably the u.s.
with its record on one title and the rest of it just doesn't do i'm sorry i'm very glad that i can. jump in here gentlemen we're going to go to a short break and our that short break we'll continue our discussion of christian minorities staying arche. well see british science. is not on the right let's go right on out of.
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we're discussing christian communities in the arab world. ok matthew before we went to the break we heard from some of the very mixed and complicated relationship the united states has with regimes in the middle east you want to respond go ahead. i just wanted to say that the complicated relationship that we have of those countries but also america's own hypocrisy with civil liberties particularly regarding guantanamo bay and a war on terror is well documented but i think it's worth reminding that we're speaking about religious minorities and in the united states the protections of minority religious rights is better than any country in the middle east i think that's worth taking account of you know if we really want to have a discussion please don't compare the usa to the middle east usa is the superpower . third world country sure better that them that doesn't make you good.
you know i think just because you're not perfect doesn't mean that criticism can be leveled i wasn't trying to save you know the united states was a perfect country but to say that because the united states doesn't have a perfect civil liberties record and therefore shouldn't be involved in the sort of discussion seems a little silly to me ok michael do you want to jump in go ahead. sure sure i from what i've seen from my recent travels is that and i've had many she asked me why do you get support or why do you all still support speaking of the united states the saudis and not not the iranians you have absolutely nothing in common and and indeed what i've seen is that the. christians themselves and particularly in lebanon have had lots of support from the united states over a long period of time going back to the bush administration ever since ever since.
they began to veer toward the there was a least a faction of them that support has waned in fact the christians thought at one time that the united states would would be supportive of them and the united states is actually backed off so the united states policy in the middle east toward minorities even toward democracy is our hypocrisy. will and and indeed if we support a country such as saudi arabia that is having some of their people go into these pallets and into these palestinian and these syrian camps right now as we speak and and paying money for these refugee girls from nine to fourteen and then taken them off to saudi arabia there's somethin sick about that and out of state says even criticize them from work and i really have a very serious problem with that you know we all should you know before there was the promotion of secular regimes ok during the cold war for example there were
a lot of conflicts spent with the end of secular regimes we have religious machines and religious intolerance. well yes i think. it's not fair to continue talking only about the usa one can look at europe and indeed even russia the europeans the americans and russia have a problem with the something called the islamic movement or islamist or terrorism whatever it is there is they are all lumped into one and then they decide after that to begin to make tailor made islamist so you have the green islamist and pink islamist and militant and less militant and all that which is all really it's not realistic and it is not practical but this is the play of the politics and me as a person from that region it actually pains me to see that the middle east we have in these countries when i grew up we had jews christians and muslims then preform
the three forty eight israel that had ghana. created a lot of problems for the for the jews in iraq now we end up with iraq with not a single jew in the land of abraham petrea and we are losing now the christians who are again christianity was in palestine and now we are going to end up with very little christians there because of this meddling because of this. scaremongering because of the intervention and because of the division we are trying to play if you look at the french and here in britain the idea that somehow we can assist we can decide which party we we what we agree with which one we don't it doesn't matter whether they're out of muslims or christians or whatever but basically it's politics that is being played with the lives of the people and i think this is this is a disgrace and it's a pity now what do you think about that because you know i get it on
a stick with the secular regimes ok iraq it was a secular regime ok under khadafi it was nominally secular as well and now we have these these are both countries where you have fundamentalism and radicalism. after interventions. yes absolutely right and i'm not going to be arguing in favor of intervening but i think while it's obvious that western front policy has something to play i mean i'm interested to hear some of the thinks there's any domestic political causes or reasons why christians are facing the problems that they are at the moment as a just western foreign policy or is there not any you know domestic cause as well somebody want to feel that one. yet i can tell you that. as forrest as as an out of as an iraqi by origin we've never had a problem with the christians or the jews and they've never had a problem with us we never looked at differences of course we look at religious
practices or marriages or something like that but other than that no one looks at these issues as a relevant issue while in europe and in the usa every issue is looked at it in the light or in the within the lens of christians and muslims and then when we talk about the muslims we talk about various factions in the good ones and the bad ones and the etc so it's the perception in that region that was generally speaking there has never been of course there are militants and there are criminals and there are fundamentalists just like anywhere else you have people we have been in england we have the national front which is nothing to do with religion but it's a militant organization or a party which is against foreigners against blacks etc etc so you have among the arab countries and among the muslim countries indeed some there are some criminal elements but i'm talking about the overwhelming majority of people and systems they
never had anything of that there where sometimes lack of consideration say for the christians it's very difficult to imagine a christian becoming president of egypt for instance there is no law against that there is nothing above stops anybody but there is a general acceptance you wouldn't. ok michael you want to check but i didn't michael. i didn't i would like to and i'd like to underscore was saying because if if on a regional basis and again because of outside interference if syria were to fall now the christians that and all the minorities that have been that al assad has been protecting it's going to be an absolute disaster that's going to a fact all the minorities and particularly the christians but certainly the minorities and i've heard when i was in syria last week i heard the. sunni radicals and there be a saying that that clearly is infidels and they're going to go kill them and you
know that's that's just an outrage and the only reason that assad that they want all the overthrown is because of his relationship to iran and the outside powers but no the outside powers particularly the united states is not considering what the internal uproar and dislocation is going to be should should that occur and and our policy is that particularly from the united states are not taking that into account ok matthew do they ever taken into account something go ahead sagal yeah. go ahead go ahead and i'm going to matthew said that. secular regimes by its nature eight its relies on citizenship not on ethnicity or religion when you have a gene which is based either on religion or on ethnicity then you end up with intolerance in britain we have in theory we have
a democratic we have the mother of democracy etc etc but when you look at our judiciary at the foreign office at the army you don't find black faces you don't find muslims there is nothing in the middle which says they shouldn't be satisfied but they are not there and it's that it's their religion it's. is that the identity of this state is that a religion not nationality and if you do go ahead jump in. so i mean i mean i don't want to bring up i'm speaking as a british citizen it's not true that muslims are not included in the british political system at all i don't know why why so ever saying this when you know it's self-evident it's obviously not true i think we can have a discussion about the nature of secular governments i mean keep in mind also the head of the states in the u.k. is also the head of the church so just look it's just strictly secular in the sense united states says so but please go ahead. just just look at the faces of the members of parliament just look at the list of the ambassadors of britain just look
at the senior officials forget about my opinion i didn't express an opinion have a look at their faces and tell me how many faces you can see there that is black and the black community and the asian community in britain they had a president something like i don't know five or ten percent ok gentlemen i don't want to talk about britain i want to talk about their middle east michael. let me let me let me go right here jump in let me let me add something in terms of syria the government for years. even though it ends in a sheer he has ensured that he has sudanese he has catholics in his regime and they they had general sense of peace will this among all of the religious ethnic. entities across the board and this and just because you might have one there might be a sheer does not in this is an secular he has gone to
a lot of trouble i think of throughout the years to ensure that there's equal generally quality among all the minorities within the country and i think that. you can look you can make the example the united states how many blacks do we have in the united states or how many how many arabs do we have in the in the united states congress right now one matthew before we enter the program what's the future create what's the future of christians in the arab world. twenty seconds well i mean if the general trend if the trend continues we're going to see less and less of them unless you know that things change quickly i'm not optimistic i'm sorry to say ok looks like we're into the age of intolerance in this region many thanks today to my guests in washington and in london and thanks to our viewers for watching us here darkie see you next time and remember proper talk rules.
science technology innovation all the list of elements from around russia we've got the future covered. you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so. you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else you hear or see some other part of it and realize that everything you thought you knew you don't know i'm tom harpur welcome to the big picture.
you live on one hundred thirty three bucks a month for food because you know how fabulous. i mean. i know i'm setting the scene really messed up. in very closely. the second. worst we're going to fly down superman a radio guy called love. i want. to give you never seen anything like this i'm telling. you. what's going on guys i mean martin and this is breaking the sets.
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