Slippery slope for post-Spring Mideast Christians

2012-11-07 Vatican Radio

Trends resulting from the Arab Awakening or Arab Spring show the emergence of a possibly existential problem for the Christians of the Middle East. That’s what Dr. Habib Malik, Associate Professor of History and Cultural Studies at the Lebanese American University in Byblos, Lebanon warned on the sidelines of a recent Rome conference on the Christian presence in the Mideast.

Speaking to Vatican Radio, Malik says “The Christians of the Middle East face a very serious dilemma.”

Malik is the son of Lebanese Orthodox Christian intellectual Charles Malik, one of the international team who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights some six decades ago.

Christans in the region today, Malik says, “have real fears that are not hallucinatory or born of a fertile imagination. The euphoria around the so-called Arab Spring is beginning to wear thin with time. The expectations that these changes, the collapse of these oppressive regimes would usher in a new era of democracy, freedom and human rights has unfortunately and sadly been exaggerated.

“Instead, we are facing the real possibility of chaos, of replacements for these regimes that might turn out to be worse than the regimes themselves, especially (where) minorities and in part, native Christian communities are concerned. If the result of the Arab Spring is that Salafism and Jihadism are going to proliferate and anchor themselves in country after country, then we are seriously facing something very disturbing which can be called the ‘slippery slope’.”

To find out what Malik means by the ‘slippery slope’ facing Christians in the Middle East today, click here to listen to his brief comments:


Malik also says the Apostolic Exhortation delivered by Pope Benedict to the Bishops of the Middle East during his September visit to Lebanon demonstrates the Vatican’s “deep understanding of the delicate situation of the Middle Eastern Christians.” And the region’s Christians, Malik suggests, should use this guide as a road map to help prevent them from sliding down the slippery slope…