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ARAB WEST REPORT

(Week 44)

The Egyptian revolution of January 25th brought hope for better Muslim-Christian relations, but unfortunately it did not take long for the hopes for many to evaporate. Optimism for better relations is still there, but many more feel that almost two years after the revolution tensions have increased.

Arab-West Report would like to wish its readers a blessed 2013.

Truth searching is difficult

We are living in a world were sensational  reporting is given priority over truth. The search for truth has become irrelevant to many who report on Muslim-Christian or Islamist-non-Islamist relations.  Being partisan brings praise from one’s own group and very often the necessary financial support. It is so much easier to play down the wrongs of the one and highlight those of the other; because claims against one’s own religious group are simply downplayed and claims against the other are accepted, if they fit the stereotype we have of them.

Some Christian organizations have made this a business. They present themselves as the defenders of persecuted Christianity; use the cause to collect donations for their work and at the same time deepen the rift between Christians and those they are accusing of persecuting them. The same phenomena we find in the Muslim world where the defenders of persecuted Muslims also highlight wrongs against Muslims to obtain support for their work.

Arab-West Report strongly opposes this and believes that downplaying incitements of one’s own group and highlighting those of the other only contributes to further tensions.  They are thus harmful for all parties involved.  Please click here for a recent example of this.

The Arab-West Report path is for sure not an easy one. Large numbers of Christians and Muslims prefer to support the ‘defenders’ of their own group, rather than accept an organization such as ours, that puts the finger on the not so beautiful side of Christians or Muslims, regardless of who they are.  

Yet, we believe an independent voice is now more than ever needed, to show that the world is not divided in easy black and white, or good and bad, schemes.  Christians, Muslims and people of whatever faith or conviction are first of all human, with all manner of weaknesses, but there are also entailed the good. We have to learn to live with the fact that the shade of gray is more widespread in our world than that of white or black.

Arab-West Report is struggling to get by. We have a small devoted team; some paid and others working as volunteer interns. The work is truly overwhelming. There is so much misreporting and misinformation, that needs to be responded to. We are currently considering changes for 2013 that will reduce costs, without making this add to the expense of our own special reports. This won’t be easy but we have to, if we wish to keep the work within budget. Volunteer interns need to pay towards their own costs of being in Egypt and for most of them this means that the period they stay with us is very limited. Many would love to stay longer with us, if only their costs could be covered.  That is not very big funding. Please contact me if you would like to ‘adopt’ one of our interns, so that she, or he, may stay longer with us.  Please make a donation through our Dutch Stichting Arab-West Foundation, a recognized not-for-profit organization in The Netherlands.

Sincerely,

Cornelis Hulsman,
Editor-in-chief of Arab-West Report

On December 29, 2012, an unknown assailant killed two Egyptians praying in a service building attached to a Coptic Orthodox Church in Misrata, Libya. Located to the west of Tripoli, the attacker threw a homemade bomb into a midnight prayer service of 150 people, injuring two others.

Cairo security apparatuses put a security plan to secure churches in the Christmas and New Year. Maj. Gen. Ahmad Jamāl al-Dīn, Minister of Interior, gave instructions to take all the necessary security measures to secure churches and institutions. [Ahmad Imām, al-Ahrām, Dec. 30, p. 2] Read original text in Arabic

Conflict between the Church and Islamic political movements developed after the Church's withdrawal from the Constituent Assembly and the Presidency's disregard for Coptic demands.

Coptic Orthodox Bishop Marqus of Shubrā al-Khaymah said: “The Church does not fear the regime. The future of the State-Church relations does not concern us because our future and Copts’ future is up to God” (‘Imād Khalīl, al-Misrī al-Yawm, Dec. 31, p. 11). Read original text in Arabic

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