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A Great Loss - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Levant was a model example of coexistence among the followers of different religions; you could witness examples in classrooms, business companies and art or cultural projects. This was the case until the first wave of displacement of Jews from Arab states started to occur.

However, this also coincided with the declaration of the Zionist state to which security agencies in some of the Arab countries reacted to foolishly; Arab governments began to deal with the Jewish communities with suspicion and concern. The outcome was that the Jews were subjected to forced migration (that is not to neglect the malicious practices that the Zionist aid agencies used to undertake to instill fear among the community to compel them to go back to Israel).

This had a hugely detrimental impact on the social and economic diversity in the Arab world. It was also the practical downfall of the understanding of tolerance, coexistence and the acceptance of others.

Today, there is a blatant codified mobility for the “second exodus”, meaning the evacuation of Christian citizens from the Arab world. The percentages of Christians leaving Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, Sudan, and Syria have reached staggering heights. Palestine, in particular, is subjected to a “blueprint” to evacuate all the original national Christians living on its territories

Christian Palestinian immigrants are predominantly settled in Chile, South America, and especially in the capital Santiago. The present census indicates that 70,000 Palestinians have moved there (and the national football team includes more than one Palestinian player).

But there is Christian displacement happening in other parts of the Arab world and immigrants are moving to Europe, Australia, America and Canada. In light of the growing extremism and the loss of the ability to apprehend the true values of coexistence that were effectively implemented during the Prophet’s time, it is no surprise that extremist models exist. Such models exercise hegemony over the religious discourse, which is what is happening today and which has become a more critical matter than the employed means of Christian “expulsion” from their native Arab homes.

This forced migration that is taking place is irrefutable evidence of the decrease of tolerance and the acceptance of others, since the outcome is what really matters. As long as Arab Christians do not feel stable and secure then there is a grave problem that requires immediate action to counter it, because the cost will continue to rise to indiscriminately affect everyone, Muslims included.

However, silence in the face of this ongoing ‘exodus’ and ignoring the outgoing departure figures as though the matter does not concern anyone remains incomprehensible.

The Arab world has always been a point of convergence for civilizations and a model for the coexistence of religions and the merging of cultures, which in turn has yielded richness and diversity on more than one level that cannot be overlooked. Today, with the manifestation of these alarming indicators, the situation may continue as it is. Immigration figures are no longer calculated in dozens or hundreds but rather in thousands, and it is no longer done covertly but rather collectively and publically and the reasons are clearly stated. These include fear and concern, in addition to failures in the social system.

This significant second wave of departure is a great error that should not be concluded in this manner because the region is the one that will suffer the most losses.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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