Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Christians Fleeing A Deteriorating Lebanon

In a region full of basket-cases, competition for the title of most unstable country in the Middle East is intense. Iraq's an easy pick, but increasingly, it appears that Lebanon will be the first Middle Eastern country to fall into Islamist civil war.

The reason: The stabilizing Christian population of Lebanon is fleeing the country as fast as they can find a way out.

Under a longstanding agreement, Christians hold one-half of the seats in Lebanon's government even though historically they've been only about a quarter of the population. This over-representation forces a jittery peace between its roughly equal Shi'a and Sunni populations. But the rising and hostile tide of radical Islamism is threatening the demographic underpinnings of that balance, reports the Washington Times:
BEIRUT -- Christians are fleeing from Lebanon to escape the rise of radical Islam and growing fears that the trend will result in a Sunni-Shi'ite civil war, with minority Christians trapped in the middle.

In a poll to be published next month, nearly half of all Maronites, the largest Christian denomination in the country, said they were considering emigrating.

Of these, more than 100,000 have submitted visa applications to foreign embassies, according to the poll. Their exodus could rob the country of an influential minority, which has acted as an important counterbalance to the forces of Islamic extremism.

About 60,000 Christians have left since the summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah. Many who remain fear that a violent showdown between rival Sunni and Shi'ite factions is looming.

"If we love our children, we have to tell them to get out," said Maria, a Christian mother from the northern city of Tripoli who refused to give her surname for fear of reprisal. "When my daughter finished her high school, I sent her to Europe, and I will follow her if I can."
The rising tension between Shi'ite and Sunni factions and the rising anti-Christian actions of radical Islamists aren't the only things destabilizing Lebanon's Christian community. WashTimes reports that the Christians are evenly split between those who back the Sunni-dominatedcentral government and those who side with the Shi'ite opposition, led by Hezbollah.

It seems like the Christians have any number of ways to lose in this deteriorating situation, so get out they shuld -- just as we should open our doors to them. It is in America's interest to offer a special haven to Christians who are oppressed by Islam, because they would live here as strong allies for us in any future conflict with the Islamists, just as we could depend on our Cuban and Vietnamese populations to give a bit more in a conflict against Communists.

Of course, in our PC world, I'm pipe-dreaming. Somehow it's become incorrect for a nation founded by Christians on Christian principles to offer Christians in distress any sort of preferential treatment. Our doors must be equally open to Muslims and Christians.

In principle, that's a fine idea. In practice, it's as if our top immigration bureaucrats are drinking too much tea with the Mad Hatter.

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