Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tarif Khalidi Appeals to Muslim Leaders for Maloula

h/t As'ad Abu Khalil.  I had the privilege of studing with Tarif Khalidi some ten years ago. There are very few academics for whom I have more respect. Arabic original in al-Akhbar here.

An Appeal to Muslim Clerics and Rulers: Save Our Christian Heritage!

An appeal to Muslim clerics and rulers, women and men:

What is happening today in Maloula and other Christian cities and areas in Syria, Egypt, and other Arab countries transcends any political opinions about what is going on in this or that tormented country, whether the opinions oppose or support the political regime in those countries. The repeated assaults on Christian holy sites that are happening today and the forced expulsion of Christians is a flagrant assault on our Islamic heritage itself and on the precedent of our venerable Prophet, his noble hadith, his life, and the lives of those followed him in doing good. The destruction of churches and Christian holy sites that we are witnessing is a barbaric, pagan assault on our Islamic civilization  which, over the ages, has given a central place to Jesus son of Mary and his virgin mother (peace be upon them) at the heart of our teaching, rooted in the long and glorious history of coexistance and love between Islam and Christianity, this coexistance that is one of our greatest point of pride when we express our pride among civilizations.

Any attack on these holy places is part of a campaign against Islam, aiming to disfigure this love and coexistence. This campaign is now being waged by those who have been overcome first of all by ignorance, then by blind prejudice, then by rejection of the other, even when this other is "the closest in affection to those who believed." In light of all the above and before it is too late, we call upon Muslim clerics and rulers, women and men, to join their voices with this cry, that perhaps someone may heed it in the lands of Arabity and Islam... "O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul."

Tarif Khalidi is a Palestinian academic and professor at the American University of Beirut.

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