Monday, November 15, 2004

Arafat and Religion

This GetReligion piece is commenting on the plight of Christians in the Holy Land

One good thing about Arafat was that, although Muslim, he did a lot to hold the Palestinian people together religiously. What do I mean? Well about a third of the Palestinians are Christians, usually some flavor of Orthodox. When you live a block from where Jesus was born, it kind of makes sense doesn't it?

Anyway it wasn't uncommon to see Arafat going to Christmas Eve Mass at Bethlehem even though he's Muslim. He put out the effort to recognize and accommodate the Christian minority. Depending on what you think of him, maybe he just stole from everyone equally. The point is that a new militant Muslim leader for the Palestinian people may not do that, to the detriment of Christian natives in the Holy Land.

Not that it matters for long anyway. Palestinian Christians are a shrinking group anyway. Some are converting to Islam, but many are just getting the hell out of the country. I had a friend in college named Adel who was from Bethlehem. Yes, The Bethlehem. He basically thought that things going on in Palestine were crazy and it was time to get out. This was before 9-11 mind you. His family does auto body work in Delaware and he got an engineering degree with me from U of Delaware.

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