Recently Egyptian-born Nonie Darwish, a convert to Christianity and author of "Now They Call Me Infidel," was recently interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez on National Review Online.
As Arab children, we were taught about Jews in schools, at home, in the media, at mosque sermons, and by politicians. No one can escape the overwhelming anti-Semitic propaganda and the venomous hatred that my culture of origin advocated against Jews. In Gaza elementary schools I learned hate, vengeance, and retaliation. Peace was never an option; it was considered a sign of defeat and weakness. Those who wanted peace and compromise were called traitors and cowards. When I asked “Why do we hate Jews?,” the answer was “Aren’t you a Muslim?”The primary reason for Benedict's trip is highlighted by the insults he has received from Turkish officialdom and the mindless effigies with which the Turkish press and the Turkish street characterize him: He is going to show solidarity with the tiny besieged Christian community in Turkey and to show that solidarity especially with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. At stake is something closer to Benedict's heart than easing tensions with Islam, namely working toward the reconciliation of Eastern and Western Christianity. He will be doing so in a society where the choice to be a Christian is courageous, involving real hardships and very real dangers.
He deserves and needs our prayers.
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