Saturday, June 3, 2017

James Zogby — Not the Way to Defend Christians

The recent horrific massacre of 29 Egyptian Coptic Christian pilgrims served as a tragic reminder of the vulnerability of minority faith communities in many parts of the Middle East.
As a Maronite Catholic with family and friends in the Middle East, a PhD in Comparative Religion, and over 40 years of work experience throughout the Arab World, this issue is a deeply personal one for me. I know that in many parts of the world, there are religious communities that are facing threats to their very survival or dealing with serious problems of discrimination and dispossession. The challenge we face is how can we help and not harm these vulnerable communities.... 
But none of this matters for the “Faithkeepers,” since its central purpose is to demonize Islam. It is not a stretch to make such a claim when we look more closely at the production team that made the film, its funders, and those who are promoting it, most of whom have a disturbing record of disseminating and supporting a number of anti-Muslim propaganda films and organizations. A look at the line-up of individuals and organizations behind “Faithkeepers” reveals a “who’s who” collection of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of Islamophobic “hate groups.”...
The bottom line is that vulnerable Christian communities do need protection and support. What they do not need is to be exploited as pawns in a disgraceful effort to demonize another religion. By using the plight of Christians for no other purpose than to further an anti-Muslim agenda, “Faithkeepers” has broken faith with those it claims to be helping.
Not the Way to Defend Christians
James Zogby | President of the Arab-American Institute

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