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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Christians fleeing Lebanon

I've blogged before about the treatment of Christians in the Arab world generally and about their treatment by Muslims in Israel in particular. Today's London Sunday Telegraph reports that Christians are fleeing en masse from a country in which they were once the majority: Lebanon.
Christians are fleeing Lebanon to escape political and economic crises and signs that radical Islam is on the rise in the country.

In a poll to be published next month which was exclusively leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, nearly half of all Maronites, the largest Christian denomination in the country, said they were considering emigrating. Of these, more than 100,000 have submitted visa applications to foreign embassies. Their exodus could have a devastating effect on the country, robbing it of an influential minority which has acted as an important counter-balance to the forces of Islamic extremism.

About 60,000 Christians have already left since last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah. Many who remain fear that a violent showdown between rival Sunni and Shia factions is looming.

"If we love our children we have to tell them to get out," said Maria, a Christian mother of one from the northern city of Tripoli, who refused to give her surname for fear of reprisal. "When my daughter finished her high school I sent her to Europe, and I will follow her if I can."

Christine, another Christian woman, said that all of her family's younger generation had left the country, adding that Tripoli had become increasingly Islamised in recent years. There is a rising number of veiled women and religiously bearded men on the streets - although she blamed economic and political instability for much of the emigration. Christians, who make up 22 per cent of the population, have historically played a major role in the development of Lebanon's political, social and cultural institutions. Currently the president, the army commander and the head of the central bank are all Maronites, and under the agreement which ended the civil war in 1989, half the 128 seats in Lebanon's parliament are reserved for Christians.
Dhimmi Watch reports that the percentage of Christians in Lebanon is actually much higher than 22%:
The estimate of 22 percent is skewed very low. The CIA Factbook, for example, puts the Christian population of Lebanon at 39 percent of the total.
But it's the 'Palestinian problem' that's preventing 'peace' in the Middle East. And I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.


At 6:44 PM, Blogger Concerned UCI Student said...

The Telegraph may have it wrong. I sent the article to a Lebanese friend of mine whose sister was evac'd by the US from Beirut during the summer and who has a bunch of family across Lebanon. He said the article is bunk.


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