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During the European –Arab Conference, “The Contribution of Religious Minorities to Society”; launching event of the academic exchange program between the University of Vienna and higher education institutions in Lebanon and the Arab World, July 1-3, 2013, Vienna, Austria I presented a paper of the political use of statistics of Christian minorities. Estimates are inflated and used to claim underrepresentation of Christians in the highest government positions and a violation of human rights. This paper does not claim there are no examples of discrimination but it argues that inflating population estimates is not the way to address such discrimination.
Hulsman’s argument was strongly underlined by the opposition of Prof. Dr. Berge Traboulsi (Trabūlsī) of Haigazian University, Beirut, during the conference. Of course Christians in the Middle East exaggerate, as all Arabs do, he argued, but no one should highlight this. Highlighting this would be harmful, Prof. Traboulsi believed. Along these lines, investigation should not serve objective reporting, but it should select truths that are convenient in helping Christians in the Middle East best. Prof. Traboulsi’s view is certainly not shared by all Middle Eastern Christians as was also clear during the conference but it is troubling that not only political activists but also a scholar holds such views.
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