World Blind To Christianity’s Evaporating Roots In Holy Land

By Paul Stanway,

One of the staples of television news over the Christmas holiday is coverage of celebrations in the Holy Land, providing a familiar and comforting nod to the ancient roots of Western civilization.

Even in our increasingly secular society, images of Christians worshipping in Nazareth and Bethlehem provide welcome confirmation that we have a long and substantial history — even if we’re fuzzy on the details. It all looks so traditional and Christmassy.

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Israel, Greece sign aviation pact, first treaty in 60 years

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his visiting Greek counterpart, Dimitris Droutsas, signed an aviation treaty yesterday, amid signs of strengthening ties between Jerusalem and Athens. This was the first treaty to be signed between the two nations since 1952, a Foreign Ministry statement said. The deal paves the way for, among other things, two carriers to service each side for each destination instead of just one.

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Turkish State Minister calls Christians “gavur” (unfaithful)

The Chair of the Syriac Culture Association Yuhanna Aktas stated Turkish State Minister Faruk Celik should apologize to Christians for calling them gavur (an offensive ethnic slur used by Muslims in Turkey to describe all who are non-Muslim) in one of the TV programs several days ago.

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Turkey needs to reinterpret secularism, says senior MP

Turkey has to reinterpret its principles of secularism to adapt to a changing society, an AK Party member in charge of drafting a new constitution said, joining a growing debate over the Muslim country’s identity.

Turkey, a rising regional power which aspires to join the European Union, was founded by Kemal Ataturk as a secular republic on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.

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The Fast Growing de-Christianization of the Middle East

Pope Benedict has called bishops to a two-week Vatican synod from Oct. 10 to discuss the fate of Christian minorities in the Middle East, where some face conflict, discrimination, economic woes or sectarian tensions.

With emigration rife, Christian communities have dwindled in many parts of the region where their faith was born. Here are estimates of how many still live in Middle Eastern countries:

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House of Representatives Passes Resolution Calling for End to Religious Artifact Destruction in Cyprus

The U.S. House of Representatives has adopted a resolution that calls for the protection of religious sites in Turkish-occupied regions of Cyprus. The bipartisan resolution was adopted unanimously last week.

The resolution is in response to the looting, damage, and violence that has continued to occur in The Republic of Cyprus as it celebrates its 50th anniversary of Independence. While the nation celebrates the independence it won fifty years ago, nearly a third of the Greek island is still under Turkish military occupation, and has been for more than 35 years.

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German minister urges Turkey to protect minority rights

The visiting German interior minister said Friday that he has urged Turkish officials to protect religious freedom and address the problems facing the country’s minorities.

“I asked Turkish officials to continue their efforts to resolve minorities’ problems concerning obtaining property,” Thomas de Maiziere told reporters during a press conference at the German Embassy in Ankara.

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13Sept.1922 : The Burning of Smyrna and the Destruction of Eastern Christianity

The Great Fire of Smyrna was a fire that destroyed much of the port city of Smyrna in September 1922. Eye-witness reports state that the fire began on 13 September 1922 and lasted for several days. It occurred four days after the Turkish forces under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha («Ataturk») regained control of the city on 9 September 1922. The Burning of Smyrna marked the last chapter in the destruction and Genocide of Anatolian Greeks and of Eastern Christianity in Asia Minor.

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Arab Christians Face New Wave of Violence

middle eastThe complete islamization of the Muslim world in process…

In its 10th pastoral letter, the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East examines the challenges facing Arab Christians across the region. The council issued the letter at a time this summer when Iraq was suffering new waves of bombings against Christian churches in Baghdad and in the Kurdish north. Entitled The Christian Arab Confronts the Challenges of Today, the letter was released in Arabic and French.

The patriarchs continue to regard Christians as integral members of the Arab society, who hope to be equal members of their respective communities. While they regard Islam as a formative force in the Arab world, they see a shared future for Christians and Muslims if together they “form a common front to challenge new extremist movements which are a threat to all, Christians and Muslims alike.” Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Turks Increasingly Turn to Islamic Extremism

turksReporting from London — In an audio message from a hide-out in South Asia this month (June), an Al Qaeda chief did something new: He sang the praises of an ethnic group that once barely registered in the network.

«We consider the Muslims in Turkey our brothers,» said Mustafa Abu Yazid, the network’s operations chief. Lauding Turkish suicide bombers killed in recent attacks near the Afghan-Pakistani border, he declared, «This is a pride and honor to the nation of Islam in Turkey, and we ask Allah to accept them amongst the martyrs.»

The message is the latest sign of the changing composition of Islamic extremism, anti-terrorism officials and experts say. The number of Turks in Al Qaeda, long dominated by Arabs, has increased notably, officials say. And militant groups dominated by Turks and Central Asians, many of whom share Turkic culture and speak a Turkic language, have emerged as allies of and alternatives to Al Qaeda in northwestern Pakistan.

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