Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Islamic definition of "co-existence"

Al-Hayat has a self-congratulatory article on a conference celebrating the co-existence of three major religions in Nablus.

Which religions would those be, you might ask?

Why, Islam, Christianity and Samaritanism, of course!
Islamic figures and Christian and Samaritan confirm that the Nablus model of coexistence between religions
Here's one example of that co-existence from the autotranslated article:
The conference started with a recitation of verses from the holy Koran and then stand and read the beginning for the souls of the martyrs. He welcomed Majid Katana Director of the Office of the Information Ministry in Nablus, which guided the work of the Conference. attendees pointed to the importance of holding this conference in such circumstances that need to be a coming together of all the sons of the Palestinian people in their various sects and political affiliations.

Somehow, this conference of tolerance does not seem to have included any readings from the New Testament or the Samaritan Bible.

It also doesn't seem to extend to the Palestinian Jews, who lived in the ancient Biblical city of Shechem which is what Nablus used to be called. More evidence of this "co-existence" can be seen from when the tolerant Muslim Palestinian Arabs sacked the Jewish shrine of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus in October, 2000.

Let's look a little deeper at this model of cooperation and tolerance in Nablus.

Just last September, four churches in Nablus were attacked and firebombed, and Muslims shot bullets into at least one of them, in the wake of the Pope comments. The initial reaction from Melkite Father Youssef Saadeh, the parish priest, was that "Christians were no longer safe and would not be able to live in Nablus if the situation continued."

Supreme dhimmi Saadeh quickly backtracked two days later, though:
However, in a Sept. 18 telephone interview, Father Saadeh made light of the situation, saying things were quiet, although it was impossible to know what would happen.

Father Saadeh skirted a question about fear that the attacks had instilled in the Christian community and instead pointed out that Muslim religious leaders and municipal leaders had visited Christian churches to signify solidarity.

"Now we want to be strong and quiet," said Father Saadeh. "We don't know how it will be in the future, but like all people Muslims and Christians hope (the problems) are finished here."
It is also notable that the Christian population in Nablus has decreased from 10,000 when it was under Israeli control to less than a thousand today. (Hilariously, the article linked to here blames Israeli checkpoints for this mass flight of Christians. Somehow, the Christians must be the only ones affected.)

So the idea of Muslim tolerance for other religions is becoming clearer: as long at the Muslims are the overwhelming majority, and as long as members of the other religions behave like proper dhimmis and don't complain about being sirebombed and shot at, and as long as you overlook the second-class status of other religions and the unwelcoming environment that forces their members to flee, and as long as the other religion isn't Judaism (or an infidel religion like Hinduism), then Islam is quite tolerant and willing to co-exist.