The Fate of Israel Is Tied to That of Christians in the Middle East
U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts is to be commended for his courageous criticism of the persecution of Christians by Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority ("Yasser Arafat vs. Christians," Op-Ed, Dec. 4). At a time when the State Department, the United Nations and much of the media prefer to ignore Mr. Arafat's mistreatment of Christians, it is refreshing to know that there are those in Congress who are not afraid to speak out.
Mr. Arafat's persecution of Christians is consistent with a pattern of mistreatment of Christians throughout the Arab world. Islam relegates all non-Muslims to the status of dhimmi, a minority group against whom discriminatory measures are required. Their physical suppression is intended to symbolize the superiority of Islam. (A variety of Muslim practices are based on the idea that physical inferiority symbolizes spiritual inferiority -for example, non-Muslims are not allowed to build houses that are taller than the houses of their Muslim neighbors.)
As a result, in Lebanon, Maronite Christians, once a majority, have been reduced to a minority because of Muslim violence and pressure to emigrate; the Assyrian Christians in Iraq are persecuted; the Coptic Christians in Egypt are victimized by legal discrimination and occasional massacres; blacks in southern Sudan (many of them Christians) are routinely kidnapped and sold into slavery by government-sponsored Arab militias; and in Mauritania, tens of thousands of blacks are enslaved by wealthy Muslim citizens, while the country's Arab-Muslim government looks the other way. …