CHRISTIAN ARABS, TOO, ARE HARASSED
by Gustave Niebuhr
[The New York Times, 10/15/2001]
... It can come as news to many Americans that the Middle East is not uniformly Islamic, and that many nations contain historic Christian churches, the largest being the Coptic Church, which traces its roots to the First Century.
...While they are still outnumbered in the United States by Muslims of Middle Eastern origin, other Middle Eastern Christians have settled here as well, coming from churches in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere. Since Sept. 11, the harassment has not been confined to one region.
In New York, the Rev. Khader N. El- Yateem, pastor of Salam Arabic Lutheran Church in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, said three families in his congregation had suffered harassment. The majority at Salam Arabic Church come from Syria, said Pastor El-Yateem, a Palestinian Christian who has worked to build ties in his area between Christians and Muslims. Reflecting on the harassment, Pastor El-Yateem said he believed the bigotry was directed against Middle Easterners in general, regardless of religion.
"We've had Christian families that have been attacked more than Muslim families in Bay Ridge," he said...
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