Civil Rights of Non Moslems in the Arab World

By Ghassan Karam

Logical internal consistency is a fundamental characteristic of a model that has withstood the rigours of investigation both empirical and otherwise. The advocates of an internally inconsistent model, especially one that suffers of an apparent logical fallacy are often chided for their position and for their inability to promote rational thinking. Such is the case when those that make a habit of disregarding say the rights of nature; make an issue of the failure of their neighbours to act in an environmentally friendly manner.  Of course the corporation that seeks governmental relief is not in a position to be taken seriously when it opposes the extension of such a program to cover its competitors.

The above fatal fallacy could easily be avoided through the incorporation of the ideas embodied in the principle of the Golden Rule. This simple but profound idea has been traced to practically all cultures all over the world, although one of its most popular and common manifestations are encompassed in the saying: Do unto others what you would like others to do unto you.  As it is obvious it would not be difficult to suggest that this ethics of reciprocity is the foundation upon which human rights and fair treatments are based.

What often goes unnoticed, in the Arab world, is that this simple but yet elegant idea about justice and equality has been traced as far as the middle kingdom of Egypt, 19th century BC, as well as the Code of Hammurabi not to mention the Torah and Confucius. Furthermore it is also important to note that The Parliament of World Religion during its centenary held in 1993 adopted the idea of reciprocity found in the Golden Rule as the common belief in all religions. This document of Global Ethics declared to the world:

We are interdependent….We take individual responsibility for all we do. All our decisions, actions, and failures to act have consequences.

We must treat others as we wish others to treat us. We make a commitment to respect life and dignity, individuality and diversity, so that every person is treated humanely, without exception. We must have patience and acceptance….

We consider humankind a family…We commit ourselves to a culture of non-violence, respect, justice, and peace. We shall not oppress, injure, torture, or kill other human beings, forsaking violence as a means of settling differences.

We in the Arab world seem to have conveniently decided not to adopt and apply the above principle despite the admonition by the prophet Mohammad, PBUH, that such a principle of respect and reciprocity to others is essential as can be seen clearly in more than one Hadith:

“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” An Nawawi

“No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that, what he desires for himself.” Forty Hadith

“Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you”. Muhammad, The Farewell Sermon on Mount Arafat in Mecca.

“Woe to those . . . who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due”

Qur’an (Surah 83, “The Unjust,”

The principle of justice and reciprocity is as seminal to Islam as it is to other cultures and we choose to neglect it at our peril. This is not the place to describe in full details the practices in separate countries against non Moslems.But it should be clear that when we close our eyes on discriminatory practices by our neighbours and friends then amounts to an acquiescence in these wrongful and hurtful practices.

The Arab world has paid dearly for the inequities that its non Moslem population is subjected to. Why is it not evident that the time of the dhimmis is gone  forever and that if we consider ourselves to be part of this global community then no one has the right to deny any other person the right to self expression and the freedom of thought and religious belief. Why can we not see that when we discriminate against others then we automatically give up our right to complain when others discriminate against our fellow co religionists? Saudi Arabia could not possibly object to a rule preventing school girls from wearing a moslem headdress when a non Moslem is not allowed to practice her religion openly in the kingdom. Egypt was not in a position to complain against the Swiss rule that regulates the size and location of minarets when  even minor repairs to churches in Egypt require almost presidential approval. The Arab league could not join in the important dialogue about the advisability of building a Mosque close to ground zero in Manhattan when many Arab countries have strict prohibitions against the construction of Churches and other non Moslem houses of worship.

Yes this is a different world than it was 1500 years ago in many respects but the principles of justice and universal humanity and equality are still the same.  Many of the Arab governments that claim that they are only doing the work of Allah and that of his Prophet, PBUH, would do well to review  the treaty of Medina which L Ali Khan argues could serve as the basis of treating minorities justly and offering them equal rights under Islam. And most importantly we cannot disapprove of the acts of others when we sanction these same acts either in our countries or we are silent when these same human rights violations are committed by our neighbourly countries. There ought to be no prejudice or partiality in civil rights.

(The above was written for Islamcomment.com)

  • Ghassankaram

    This is just a test to see if the “comment” is working properly.

  • Anonymous

    This is just a test to see if the “comment” is working properly.

  • PROPHET.T

    Ghassan,
    Good and balanced piece of work.
    Arab regimes are mostly hypocrites.
    They never practice what they preach.
    Most of them falsely claim to do the work of God, and that of the Prophet. None of the Arab countries/leaders IS QUALIFIED to make such a claim.
    They use this claim to justify their own rule over their people. For years , many Arab countries, used the Palestinian tragedy, and the threat from Israel, to introduce war time emergency laws, that are still in place( after signing peace treaties with Israel), to justify their grip on their societies.
    Some Arab countries , have at times , encouraged the discrimination you describe in your article ,and the religious tensions that results from such discrimination, to divert attention away from their own failures.
    It is easier for a country like Egypt to have its average non educated citizen worry about a “Coptic threat”, than protest against corruption or in favor of real democracy.
    Society needs leadership, laws, and fair justice system to change its collective behavior. That applies to the way communities, and individuals treat each other.
    It is the responsibility of the state ,and the religious leadership of Arab/Muslim countries to change their own hypocritical behavior, as well the behavior of its society.
    Collective Behavior of Societies is a good reflection of the laws and principles by which they live by in their own state,

  • PROPHET.T

    Ghassan,
    Good and balanced piece of work.
    Arab regimes are mostly hypocrites.
    They never practice what they preach.
    Most of them falsely claim to do the work of God, and that of the Prophet. None of the Arab countries/leaders IS QUALIFIED to make such a claim.
    They use this claim to justify their own rule over their people. For years , many Arab countries, used the Palestinian tragedy, and the threat from Israel, to introduce war time emergency laws, that are still in place( after signing peace treaties with Israel), to justify their grip on their societies.
    Some Arab countries , have at times , encouraged the discrimination you describe in your article ,and the religious tensions that results from such discrimination, to divert attention away from their own failures.
    It is easier for a country like Egypt to have its average non educated citizen worry about a “Coptic threat”, than protest against corruption or in favor of real democracy.
    Society needs leadership, laws, and fair justice system to change its collective behavior. That applies to the way communities, and individuals treat each other.
    It is the responsibility of the state ,and the religious leadership of Arab/Muslim countries to change their own hypocritical behavior, as well the behavior of its society.
    Collective Behavior of Societies is a good reflection of the laws and principles by which they live by in their own state,

  • PROPHET.T

    Ghassan,

    Good and balanced piece of work.

    Arab regimes are mostly hypocrites.

    They never practice what they preach.

    Most of them falsely claim to do the work of God, and that of the Prophet. None of the Arab countries/leaders IS QUALIFIED to make such a claim.

    They use this claim to justify their own rule over their people. For years , many Arab countries, used the Palestinian tragedy, and the threat from Israel, to introduce war time emergency laws that are still in place, to justify their grip on their societies.

    Some Arab countries , have at times , encouraged the discrimination you describe in your article ,and the religious tensions that results from such discrimination, to divert attention away from their own failures.

    It is easier for a country like Egypt to have its average non educated citizen worry about a “Coptic threat”, than protest against corruption or in favor of real democracy.

    Society needs leadership, laws, and fair justice system to change its collective behavior. That applies to the way communities, and individuals treat each other.

    So I agree with you that it is the responsibility of the state ,and the religious leadership of Arab/Muslim countries to change their own hypocritical behavior, as well the behavior of its society.

    Collective Behavior of Societies is a good reflection of the laws and principles by which they live by in their own state,

  • NAGDELLA

    Well done Mr Karam. I couldn’t agree with you more. It is no coincidence that the majority of the worlds’ problems are due nations, religions, or certain breeds of man asserting their superiority over the rest of mankind. And one has to look no farther than the Lebanese Government and the ‘allocated slots’ given to each sect which is inevitably sending the country to the abyss.

  • NAGDELLA

    Well done Mr Karam. I couldn’t agree with you more. It is no coincidence that the majority of the worlds’ problems are due nations, religions, or certain breeds of man asserting their superiority over the rest of mankind. And one has to look no farther than the Lebanese Government and the ‘allocated slots’ given to each sect which is inevitably sending the country to the abyss.

  • Anonymous

    Well done Mr Karam. I couldn’t agree with you more. It is no coincidence that the majority of the worlds’ problems are due nations, religions, or certain breeds of man asserting their superiority over the rest of mankind. And one has to look no farther than the Lebanese Government and the ‘allocated slots’ given to each sect which is inevitably sending the country to the abyss.

  • Fauzia45

    I agree with you Mr.Karam. I think that these principles of justice,reciprocity etc.. will continue to be ignored in this part of the world as long as ignorance and intolerance continue to exist!The annihilation of these evils can only be achieved by allowing a comprehensive education based on ultimate universal values and ¨global ethics¨that respect the dignity of all individuals and their beliefs!!The right kind of education will produce individuals who believe and recognize the rights of all to practice and preach what they believe!The right kind of education will produce individuals who will grant civil rights to all regardless of their religion!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you Mr.Karam. I think that these principles of justice,reciprocity etc.. will continue to be ignored in this part of the world as long as ignorance and intolerance continue to exist!The annihilation of these evils can only be achieved by allowing a comprehensive education based on ultimate universal values and ¨global ethics¨that respect the dignity of all individuals and their beliefs!!The right kind of education will produce individuals who believe and recognize the rights of all to practice and preach what they believe!The right kind of education will produce individuals who will grant civil rights to all regardless of their religion!!!!!!

  • Sebouh80

    True, today there is a major inconsistency in the Arab world especially when it comes to areas of Reciprocity and Justice of Minorities.

    Let us examine the facts. These days much attention has been focused on the human rights violations in the volatile West Bank and Gaza which is no doubt is a serious violation against all international laws and treaties. On the other hand, the popular Arab press has chosen to virtually ignore violations of fundamental human rights that take place daily in almost every Arab country.
    The obvious reason is that most Arab states are ruled by oppressive, dictatorial regimes, which deny their citzens basic freedoms of political expression,speech, press and due process.
    Finally, before addressing the rights of minorities in the region let us first ask a question are the Arab people in general recieving their adequate rights.
    On the contrary, they are repressed just like the minorities.
    In my opinion, the profound problem is due to lack of freedom and democracy in the region.
    These corrupt regimes use religion simply for achiving their political ends and at the same time allienating their population.
    Also let us not forget these regimes were and still the product of imperialist great powers.
    Sebouh

  • Anonymous

    True, today there is a major inconsistency in the Arab world especially when it comes to areas of Reciprocity and Justice of Minorities.

    Let us examine the facts. These days much attention has been focused on the human rights violations in the volatile West Bank and Gaza which is no doubt is a serious violation against all international laws and treaties. On the other hand, the popular Arab press has chosen to virtually ignore violations of fundamental human rights that take place daily in almost every Arab country.

    The obvious reason is that most Arab states are ruled by oppressive, dictatorial regimes, which deny their citzens basic freedoms of political expression,speech, press and due process.

    Finally, before addressing the rights of minorities in the region let us first ask a question are the Arab people in general recieving their adequate rights.

    On the contrary, they are repressed just like the minorities.

    In my opinion, the profound problem is due to lack of freedom and democracy in the region.

    These corrupt regimes use religion simply for achiving their political ends and at the same time allienating their population.

    Also let us not forget these regimes were and still the product of imperialist great powers.

    Sebouh

  • Eli Starr

    Non-Muslims are as specified in the Holy Qura’n “Ahl Elthimma” no more no less. Islam is not
    a religion only, but a way of life dictated by the Qura’n and no one can change it. Any non-Muslim
    who accept to live as a second class citizen ruled by the Islamic Chary’a can stay in Muslim
    countries and pay “Jizya” if not leave. It is as simple as that.

    • PROPHET.T

      Although I don’t advocate a Muslim state, ruled by “Chary’a”, anywhere in the Arab or Muslim world. I think your suggestion that Christians either live under a Muslim rule(Chary’a) as a second class citizen or leave, is totally out of place.
      None of the countries whose population is predominantly Muslim is really applying Chary’a, especially when it comes to non Muslim citizens or residents
      Not even Iran which is officially a Muslim state, nor Saudi Arabia, which claims to rule according to Chary’a, is actually abiding by such rule.
      I Would reiterate what I echoed in my earlier comment; Most Arab states are simply hypocritical when they claim ,falsely though, to rule according to Muslim teachings. They use Islam to justify their rules and regimes. It is just convenient to them.
      So the issue here is rather political. They discriminate against non Muslim as much as Muslims. They actually abuse their own citizen’s period.
      That being said, Muslim and Arab countries have a special responsibility to make sure that their Christian citizens are treated equally, and that they are allowed to practice their faith as they see it fit( even in Saudi Arabia). The Christians of the Middle East are more native then Arabs and Muslims.
      Christians, however, have a responsibility to integrate more in their native societies, and stop looking for support or protection from the west. The origin of Christianity is in the Middle East, not in the west. They belong where their faith was originated. They should not have to look for protection all together.
      Unfortunately, many of them leave for the west for a better economical life, and they never return. The western courtiers seem to encourage them to leave the Arab world, either directly, or through their war and political policies in the Muslim world.

      • Hannibal

        Although you mean well Prophet. Ye3ne men wayn nakachta hayde? The reason Christians are leaving to the West is because the West chose to become secular and rule under the laws of men whereas in the Middle East we rule under the Laws of religion. When have you seen a Christian being elected to government (except in Lebanon)? You my friend have been Westernized. You need to speak to your fellow Moslems who are born in, bred in and live in the East and they are not you. You are a heretic in those lands and in their eyes. Moslems of the East do not like to be ruled by a law abiding country by the people for the people they like to be ruled by the Koran.

        • PROPHET.T

          Walid, There is no doubt that most of us, Christians and Muslims alike live in the west because we prefer living under the secular law of men instead of law of religion (more than50% of my own town is in the usa).
          I’ve never been shy about criticizing the Middle East rulers, who uses religion as a tool for governing ,neither have I been shy about criticizing organize religion altogether.
          I’ve always had these progressive thoughts, even as a teenager in Lebanon. No doubt, living, and schooling in the west, have reinforced my early thoughts, and further developed them.
          I will admit though, that every time I visit Lebanon (not too often) I do feel a bit stranger among my fellow Muslims and Christians alike. I’ve always felt lucky that my mind was not poisoned by the civil war, or by the sectarian divisions that accompanied it.
          As much as I advocate a real democracy in Lebanon, I will always prefer a system that would keep the office of the president to the Christians. I’m not sure under what democratic principle , but it is a must, considering the multi everything in Lebanon. Lebanon would not be the same with out its Christian part.
          I disagree with you, that Muslims in the east don’t like to live under the law of men. Countries like Bangladesh, Siri lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, even Tunisia (to some extend), have made great progress in secularization of their political system. Democratic elections in those countries have, (with various success levels) been successful in transferring power from one leader to another in civil, and democratic ways.
          Tunisia may not be the perfect example, but at least the Tunisian society is one of the most secular societies of all Arab countries ,which are mostly Muslim.. If Bangladesh or Seri lanka can elect a woman to the office of prime minister, then it can happen in other Muslim countries.
          I will repeat what I said in my first comment, that “Collective Behavior of Societies is a good reflection of the laws and principles by which they live by in their own state”.
          As I said earlier, Society needs leadership, laws, and fair justice system to change its collective behavior. That applies to the way communities, and individuals treat each other. No doubt education is a must.
          Unfortunately, none of the Arab countries have the leadership, nor the laws, neither the fair justice system to transform their societies into tolerant secular societies.
          I think Arab/Muslim (except golf states) societies were much more tolerant forty years ago then they are now. The oppressive, and hypocrite leadership, among other things, has played a major role in radicalizing the Muslim communities. Non Arab Muslims have done a much better job than Arabs.
          BTW,I have not forgiven you for accusing me of wrapping myself with Iranian flag

          • Hannibal

            ProphetI believe we do agree on more points than we disagree on. For the last sentence let us try to peel this away. Answer me this: IF the STL comes back with SOLID non-refutable evidence that HA carried the assassinations would you still stand by them and would you join in to punish the perpetrators? That is a simple yes/no question. No magic no tricks no hidden agenda.Now you know from my previous posts where I stand on things. You know I am patriotic and EXTREMELY secular. You know I believe in GOD but I trust and believe in no religion. You know that I praised the resistance but I am angry with the internal strife. You know that I accused the central government of favoritism as my people in the North are as poor and neglected as the people in the South. My best friend is a Shiite woman (who is a HA supporter) whom I knew since I was in college and I will bleed for her and will give her my kidney if she ever needed one. I have one weakness though and that is I love the Cedar and love Lebanon and its people and my village. Finally, I do strongly believe that if HA did the killings they have done so UNDER DURESS that is IF there is SOLID proof. That being said I do believe that Israel has the capabilities of carrying out such a scheme, but let us see the evidence first.

        • PROPHET.T

          Walid,
          I’ve always thought that you and I agree on more points than we disagree. I may have said things that I truly regret during some heated discussions. Sometimes debates bring the worst of us, and some commentators have only hate, racism, and ignorance to shout at this page. This is one of the reasons I scaled back on exchanging comments. It became useless to discuss politics when people are responding with insults and personal attacks instead of opinions and ideas.
          I may have questioned some of your political positions, but I never questioned your patriotism, nor have I doubted your commitments to secularism.
          My weakness has always been Israel’s continuous aggression. I opened my eyes to this life listening to the bombings, and watching the intrusions.
          I have talked about this more than once; you know how I feel about Israel, and about those who have sought and worked with Israel against their fellow Lebanese. These issues have been around for years; way before some Lebanese groups woke up suddenly to realize they have a problem called Iran or HA.
          As for your question whether I’d join you in demanding the perpetrators to be punished if they turn out to be HA members, My Answer is yes I would. I never was against finding out the truth. Truth and justice are two things I don’t compromise on.
          Having said that, you need to keep in mind, that my views of the STL, international organizations, and world community are full of doubts, way before the rumors of HA involvements.
          I have written about it extensively at this forum. That doubt will always be a factor in my judgment. The STL never did anything to deal with the credibility issues it has created for itself. When you hear some STL official say publicly, that some of their information was obtained from Israel, You have to be very cautious, as to what to believe, and what not to believe. We all know that Israel ,The usa, most European and Arab countries would love to weaken HA anyway they can, so they won’t have to deal with the only successful resistance against Israel.
          So the international community has its own agenda. You live in the west, you are well read, you know how intelligence agencies work, and what they are capable of.
          I’d have to see the evidence. Like you said, the evidence would have to be solid, non-refutable. I’ll add this; I would never believe that the leadership of HA would ever have thought of murdering Hariri. If, and only if the evidence is convincing enough, it would have to be infiltration by some intelligence agency. This would have to be a tough sell for me. HA had the most to loose after Hariri was assassinated.
          I hope they don’t base their evidence on cell phone communications, or on the testimony of a young kid who claims to have been Mughnieh’s aid. That would sound more like another attempt to create witnesses to support their indictment.
          Let’s wait and see what evidence they’ll present, and how they collected evidence.

      • Hannibal

        Although you mean well Prophet. Ye3ne men wayn nakachta hayde? The reason Christians are leaving to the West is because the West chose to become secular and rule under the laws of men whereas in the Middle East we rule under the Laws of religion. When have you seen a Christian being elected to government (except in Lebanon)? You my friend have been Westernized. You need to speak to your fellow Moslems who are born in, bred in and live in the East and they are not you. You are a heretic in those lands and in their eyes. Moslems of the East do not like to be ruled by a law abiding country by the people for the people they like to be ruled by the Koran.

        • PROPHET.T

          Walid, There is no doubt that most of us, Christians and Muslims alike live in the west because we prefer living under the secular law of men instead of law of religion (more than50% of my own town is in the usa).
          I’ve never been shy about criticizing the Middle East rulers, who uses religion as a tool for governing ,neither have I been shy about criticizing organize religion altogether.
          I’ve always had these progressive thoughts, even as a teenager in Lebanon. No doubt, living, and schooling in the west, have reinforced my early thoughts, and further developed them.
          I will admit though, that every time I visit Lebanon (not too often) I do feel a bit stranger among my fellow Muslims and Christians alike. I’ve always felt lucky that my mind was not poisoned by the civil war, or by the sectarian divisions that accompanied it.
          As much as I advocate a real democracy in Lebanon, I will always prefer a system that would keep the office of the president to the Christians. I’m not sure under what democratic principle , but it is a must, considering the multi everything in Lebanon. Lebanon would not be the same with out its Christian part.
          I disagree with you, that Muslims in the east don’t like to live under the law of men. Countries like Bangladesh, Siri lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, even Tunisia (to some extend), have made great progress in secularization of their political system. Democratic elections in those countries have, (with various success levels) been successful in transferring power from one leader to another in civil, and democratic ways.
          Tunisia may not be the perfect example, but at least the Tunisian society is one of the most secular societies of all Arab countries ,which are mostly Muslim.. If Bangladesh or Seri lanka can elect a woman to the office of prime minister, then it can happen in other Muslim countries.
          I will repeat what I said in my first comment, that “Collective Behavior of Societies is a good reflection of the laws and principles by which they live by in their own state”.
          As I said earlier, Society needs leadership, laws, and fair justice system to change its collective behavior. That applies to the way communities, and individuals treat each other. No doubt education is a must.
          Unfortunately, none of the Arab countries have the leadership, nor the laws, neither the fair justice system to transform their societies into tolerant secular societies.
          I think Arab/Muslim (except golf states) societies were much more tolerant forty years ago then they are now. The oppressive, and hypocrite leadership, among other things, has played a major role in radicalizing the Muslim communities. Non Arab Muslims have done a much better job than Arabs.
          BTW,I have not forgiven you for accusing me of wrapping myself with Iranian flag

          • Hannibal

            ProphetI believe we do agree on more points than we disagree on. For the last sentence let us try to peel this away. Answer me this: IF the STL comes back with SOLID non-refutable evidence that HA carried the assassinations would you still stand by them and would you join in to punish the perpetrators? That is a simple yes/no question. No magic no tricks no hidden agenda.Now you know from my previous posts where I stand on things. You know I am patriotic and EXTREMELY secular. You know I believe in GOD but I trust and believe in no religion. You know that I praised the resistance but I am angry with the internal strife. You know that I accused the central government of favoritism as my people in the North are as poor and neglected as the people in the South. My best friend is a Shiite woman (who is a HA supporter) whom I knew since I was in college and I will bleed for her and will give her my kidney if she ever needed one. I have one weakness though and that is I love the Cedar and love Lebanon and its people and my village. Finally, I do strongly believe that if HA did the killings they have done so UNDER DURESS that is IF there is SOLID proof. That being said I do believe that Israel has the capabilities of carrying out such a scheme, but let us see the evidence first.

      • PROPHET.T

        Hannibal, do I take your silence as a total agreement with my last response to you ?lol
        Am I pushing it?lol

        • Hannibal

          My silence stems from the abyss where the country is heading.

        • PROPHET.T

          I hear you hannibal, I share your concern, but I’m not as pessimistic as your are, but again I could be wrong. What ever it is, I do not want to see Lebanese blood spelled in vain. I do expect political instability, and maybe some security issues, but not a war.
          I did expect some rebuttal to my comment though( since you asked me direct questions), If you choose not to, it is fine with me.

          • Hannibal

            I got my answers and I am satisfied.

      • PROPHET.T

        Hannibal, do I take your silence as a total agreement with my last response to you ?lol
        Am I pushing it?lol

  • Anonymous

    Non-Muslims are as specified in the Holy Qura’n “Ahl Elthimma” no more no less. Islam is not

    a religion only, but a way of life dictated by the Qura’n and no one can change it. Any non-Muslim

    who accept to live as a second class citizen ruled by the Islamic Chary’a can stay in Muslim

    countries and pay “Jizya” if not leave. It is as simple as that.

    • PROPHET.T

      Although I don’t advocate a Muslim state, ruled by “Chary’a”, anywhere in the Arab or Muslim world. I think your suggestion that Christians either live under a Muslim rule(Chary’a) or leave, is totally out of place.

      None of the countries whose population is predominantly Muslim is really applying Chary’a, especially when it comes to non Muslim citizen or resident.

      Not even Iran which is officially a Muslim state, nor Saudi Arabia, which claims to rule according to Chary’a, is actually abiding by such rule.

      I Would reiterate what I echoed in my earlier comment; Most Arab states are simply hypocritical when they claim ,falsely though, to rule according to Muslim teachings. They use Islam to justify their rules and regimes. It is just convenient to them.

      So the issue here is rather political. They discriminate against non Muslim as much as Muslims. They actually abuse their own citizen’s period.

      That being said, Muslim and Arab countries have a special responsibility to make sure that their Christian citizens are treated equally, and that they are allowed to practice their faith as they see it fit( even in Saudi Arabia). The Christians of the Middle East are more native then Arabs and Muslims.

      Christians, however, have a responsibility to integrate more in their societies, and stop looking for support or protection from the west. The origin of Christianity is in the Middle East, not in the west. They belong where their faith was originated.

      Unfortunately, many of them leave for the west for a better economical life, and they never return.

      • Although you mean well Prophet. Ye3ne men wayn nakachta hayde? The reason Christians are leaving to the West is because the West chose to become secular and rule under the laws of men whereas in the Middle East we rule under the Laws of religion. When have you seen a Christian being elected to government (except in Lebanon)? You my friend have been Westernized. You need to speak to your fellow Moslems who are born in, bred in and live in the East and they are not you. You are a heretic in those lands and in their eyes. Moslems of the East do not like to be ruled by a law abiding country by the people for the people they like to be ruled by the Koran.

        • PROPHET.T

          Walid, There is no doubt that most of us, Christians and Muslims alike live in the west because we prefer living under the secular law of men instead of law of religion (more than50% of my own town is in the usa).

          I’ve never been shy about criticizing the Middle East rulers, who uses religion as a tool for governing ,neither have I been shy about criticizing organize religion altogether.

          I’ve always had these progressive thoughts, even as a teenager in Lebanon. No doubt, living, and schooling in the west, have reinforced my early thoughts, and further developed them.

          I will admit though, that every time I visit Lebanon, I do feel a bit stranger among my fellow Muslims and Christians alike. I’ve always felt lucky that my mind was not poisoned by the civil war, or by the sectarian divisions that accompanied it.

          As much as I advocate a real democracy in Lebanon, I will always prefer a system that would keep the office of the president to the Christians. I’m not sure under what democratic principle , but it is a must, considering the multi everything in Lebanon. Lebanon would not be the same with out its Christian part.

          I disagree with you, that Muslims in the east don’t like to live under the law of men. Countries like Bangladesh, Siri lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, even Tunisia (to some extend), have made great progress in secularization of their political system. Democratic elections in those countries have, (with various success levels) been successful in transferring power from one leader to another in civil, and democratic ways.

          Tunisia may not be the perfect example, but at least the Tunisian society is one of the most secular societies of all Arab countries ,which are mostly Muslim.. If Bangladesh or Seri lanka can elect a woman to the office of prime minister, then it can happen in other Muslim countries.

          I will repeat what I said in my first comment, that “Collective Behavior of Societies is a good reflection of the laws and principles by which they live by in their own state”.

          As I said earlier, Society needs leadership, laws, and fair justice system to change its collective behavior. That applies to the way communities, and individuals treat each other. No doubt education is a must.

          Unfortunately, none of the Arab countries have the leadership, nor the laws, neither the fair justice system to transform their societies into tolerant secular societies.

          I think Arab/Muslim (except golf states) societies were much more tolerant forty years ago then they are now. The oppressive, and hypocrite leadership, among other things, has played a major role in radicalizing the Muslim communities. Non Arab Muslims have done a much better job than Arabs.

          PS ,don’t you ever accuse me of wrapping myself with Iranian flag again,or any flag ,for that matter. I STILL didn’t forgive you for that .lol

          • Prophet
            I believe we do agree on more points than we disagree on. For the last sentence let us try to peel this away. Answer me this: IF the STL comes back with SOLID non-refutable evidence that HA carried the assassinations would you still stand by them and would you join in to punish the perpetrators? That is a simple yes/no question. No magic no tricks no hidden agenda.
            Now you know from my previous posts where I stand on things. You know I am patriotic and EXTREMELY secular. You know I believe in GOD but I trust and believe in no religion. You know that I praised the resistance but I am angry with the internal strife. You know that I accused the central government of favoritism as my people in the North are as poor and neglected as the people in the South. My best friend is a Shiite woman (who is a HA supporter) whom I knew since I was in college and I will bleed for her and will give her my kidney if she ever needed one. I have one weakness though and that is I love the Cedar and love Lebanon and its people and my village. Finally, I do strongly believe that if HA did the killings they have done so UNDER DURESS that is IF there is SOLID proof and Israel has the capabilities of carrying out such a scheme but let us see the evidence first.

        • PROPHET.T

          Walid,

          I’ve always known that we agree on more points than we disagree. I may have said things that I truly regret during some heated discussions. Some of the commentators bring the worst of us sometimes with their racist and hatful comments. This is one of the reasons I scaled back on exchanging comments. It became useless to discuss politics with those who have nothing but anger, hate, ignorance, and propaganda to present.

          I may have questioned some of your political positions, but I never questioned your patriotism, nor have I doubted your commitments to secularism.

          My weakness has always been Israel’s continuous aggression, and its own existence.

          I have talked about this more than once, I think you know how I feel about Israel ,and about those who have sought and worked with Israel against their fellow Lebanese. These issues have been around for years; way before some Lebanese groups woke up suddenly to realize they have a problem called Iran or HA.

          As for your question whether I’d join you in demanding the perpetrators to be punished if they turn out to be HA members, My Answer is yes I would.

          Having said that, you need to keep in mind, that my views of the STL are full of doubts, way before the rumors of ha involvements. I have written about it extensively at this forum. That doubt will always be a factor in my judgment. The STL never did anything to deal with the credibility issues it has created for itself. When you hear some STL official say publicly, that some of their information was obtained from Israel, You have to be very cautious what to believe and what not to believe. We all know that Israel ,The usa, most European and Arab countries would love to weaken HA anyway they can, so they won’t have to deal with the only successful resistance against Israel.

          You live in the west; you know how intelligence agencies work, and what they are capable of.

          I’d have to see the evidence. Like you said, the evidence would have to be solid, non-refutable. I’ll add this; I would never believe that the leadership of HA would ever have thought of murdering Hariri. If ,and only If The evidence is convincing enough, It would have to be infiltration by some intelligence agency. This would have to be a tough sell for me. HA had the most to loose after Hariri was assassinated.

          I hope they don’t base their evidence on cell phone communications, or on the testimony of a young kid who claims to have been Mughnieh’s aid. That would sound more like another attempt to create witnesses to support their indictment. Let’s wait and see what evidence they’ll present.

      • PROPHET.T

        Hannibal, do I take your silence as a total agreement with my last response to you ?lol

        Am I pushing it?lol

        • My silence stems from the abyss where the country is heading.

        • PROPHET.T

          I hear you hannibal, I share your concern, but I’m not as pessimistic as your are, but again I could be wrong. What ever it is, I do not want to see Lebanese blood spelled in vain. I do expect political instability, and maybe some security issues, but not a war.

          I did expect some rebuttal to my comment though( since you asked me direct questions), If you choose not to, it is fine with me.

          • I got my answers and I am satisfied.

  • Guest

    Yes, Karam. Very well done. Wasn’t there a Christian church bombed recently In Iraq? I am thinking that it was not achieved by the Dalei Lama’s followers.

    The irony is that the prevailing twisted logic of the region puts the blame on the usual “go to scape goats” instead of admitting and accepting the fact that, while the vast majority of Muslims in the Arab world are tolerant, the few who are committing these crimes are, at the same time, re-defining the Muslim Arab image whether you like it or not. And as you say, and I have been saying this for a while now, if the rest of the Muslims sit idle and do nothing, then they most certainly acquiesce to the perpetrators’ crimes and indirectly adopt their agenda. Once again Muslims are regarded negatively.

    Just think “the building a Mosque close to the world trade center massacre committed by Muslims” would have been a profound suggestion if, and only if, after the event the rest of the Muslims immediately, with no uncertain terms, with unity, openly, aggressively and vehemently condemned everything that these criminals stand for or fighting for notwithstanding the fact that they are also Muslims. And did so with every intention and even the fear of losing your life. Why? to show that you are different and will not allow a minority/criminal view of Islam to hijack the rest. I think under these circumstances a suggestion to build a Mosque at the world trade center would have attracted a much more genuine interest and significant debate.

    Just a thought.

  • Guest

    Yes, Karam. Very well done. Wasn’t there a Christian church bombed recently In Iraq? I am thinking that it was not achieved by the Dalei Lama’s followers.

    The irony is that the prevailing twisted logic of the region puts the blame on the usual “go to scape goats” instead of admitting and accepting the fact that, while the vast majority of Muslims in the Arab world are tolerant, the few who are committing these crimes are, at the same time, re-defining the Muslim Arab image whether you like it or not. And as you say, and I have been saying this for a while now, if the rest of the Muslims sit idle and do nothing, then they most certainly acquiesce to the perpetrators’ crimes and indirectly adopt their agenda. Once again Muslims are regarded negatively.

    Just think “the building a Mosque close to the world trade center massacre committed by Muslims” would have been a profound suggestion if, and only if, after the event the rest of the Muslims immediately, with no uncertain terms, with unity, openly, aggressively and vehemently condemned everything that these criminals stand for or fighting for notwithstanding the fact that they are also Muslims. And did so with every intention and even the fear of losing your life. Why? to show that you are different and will not allow a minority/criminal view of Islam to hijack the rest. I think under these circumstances a suggestion to build a Mosque at the world trade center would have attracted a much more genuine interest and significant debate.

    Just a thought.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Karam. Very well done. Wasn’t there a Christian church bombed recently In Iraq? I am thinking that it was not achieved by the Dalei Lama’s followers.

    The irony is that the prevailing twisted logic of the region puts the blame on the usual “go to scape goats” instead of admitting and accepting the fact that, while the vast majority of Muslims in the Arab world are tolerant, the few who are committing these crimes are, at the same time, re-defining the Muslim Arab image whether you like it or not. And as you say, and I have been saying this for a while now, if the rest of the Muslims sit idle and do nothing, then they most certainly acquiesce to the perpetrators’ crimes and indirectly adopt their agenda. Once again Muslims are regarded negatively.

    Just think “the building a Mosque close to the world trade center massacre committed by Muslims” would have been a profound suggestion if, and only if, after the event the rest of the Muslims immediately, with no uncertain terms, with unity, openly, aggressively and vehemently condemned everything that these criminals stand for or fighting for notwithstanding the fact that they are also Muslims. And did so with every intention and even the fear of losing your life. Why? to show that you are different and will not allow a minority/criminal view of Islam to hijack the rest. I think under these circumstances a suggestion to build a Mosque at the world trade center would have attracted a much more genuine interest and significant debate.

    Just a thought.

  • Guest

    this argument is against the dhimmi system historically adopted by Muslim states and in favour of the adoption of a treaty of medinah type of system. I agree with it, there is no way someone is going to have any legitimacy with non Muslims if you adopt dhimmi system. (see malaysia)

    the problem of this is that you partially blame religion (adoption of dhimmi system) or Muslims (various nation states). Although and yes those things are there but there are many other factors, such as the adoption in the Muslim world of nation states from europe who have their power centralized unlike the traditional Muslim state.

    I guess my problem was that you blame countries which are socialist republics and claim that those places have been causing problems to the people of the book because of the belief in the dhimmi system.

    this is of course flawed.
    Personally I think it would be better to advocate a look at how political legitimacy works in the world, in the past and today, both moral legitimacy and hard power. Also if the Muslim world was to move forward esp with people of the book you would need to have a level of experimentation but at the moment the west likes to block that at every opportunity.

  • Anonymous

    this argument is against the dhimmi system historically adopted by Muslim states and in favour of the adoption of a treaty of medinah type of system. I agree with it, there is no way someone is going to have any legitimacy with non Muslims if you adopt dhimmi system. (see malaysia)

    the problem of this is that you partially blame religion (adoption of dhimmi system) or Muslims (various nation states). Although and yes those things are there but there are many other factors, such as the adoption in the Muslim world of nation states from europe who have their power centralized unlike the traditional Muslim state.

    I guess my problem was that you blame countries which are socialist republics and claim that those places have been causing problems to the people of the book because of the belief in the dhimmi system.

    this is of course flawed.

    Personally I think it would be better to advocate a look at how political legitimacy works in the world, in the past and today, both moral legitimacy and hard power. Also if the Muslim world was to move forward esp with people of the book you would need to have a level of experimentation but at the moment the west likes to block that at every opportunity.