Arab Christians

Arab Christians
Michel Aflaq.jpg Emile Habibi.jpg Amin al-Rihani.jpg
Suleiman1.jpg Tawfiq Canaan.jpg Faris al-Khoury.jpg
Michel Aflaq • Emile Habibi • Amin al-Rihani • Suleiman Mousa • Tawfiq Canaan • Faris al-Khoury
Regions with significant populations
 Syria 200,000[1] - 520,000[2][c][b]
 Lebanon 350,000[2][c]
 Egypt 10,000[3]-350,000[2][a]
 Jordan 100,000[1] - 140,000[2]
 Israel 135,000[2]
 Palestinian territories 90,000[2]
 Iraq 10,000[2][b]
Languages

varieties of Arabic, Arabic, Hebrew

Religion

Christianity:
Greek Orthodox Church
Arab Orthodox
Greek Catholic
Melkite

Footnotes
[a].^ (excluding Copts, including Greeks)

[b].^ (excluding Assyrians)
[c].^ (excluding Maronites, including Melkites)

Arab Christians are ethnic Arabs of Christian faith,[4] sometimes also including those, who are identified with Arab panethnicity. They are the remnants of the Arab Christian clans or Arabized Christians, who escaped Islamization and more recently the end product of Evangelization, forming Greek Orthodox (including Arab Orthodox) and Latin Christian communities. Many of the modern Arab Christians are descendants of Christianized Arabian tribes, namely the Kahlani Qahtani tribes of ancient Yemen (i.e. Ghassanids, Lakhmids, Banu Judham and Hamadan). During the 5th and 6th centuries the Ghassanids formed one of the most powerful Arab confederations allied to Christian Byzantium and forming its buffer against the tribes of Arabia.

Arab Christians are estimated to be 200,000 in Syria, a hundred thousand in Jordan and an equal number or more among the Palestinian Arab population and within the Arab-Israeli population,[5] as well as in Lebanon, and some in Iraq and Egypt. Arab Christians term is also generally applied to arabidized Melkite societies in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the West Bank, who trace their roots to Greek-speaking Byzantines. Emigrants from Arab Christian communities make up a significant proportion of the Middle Eastern diaspora, with sizeable population concentrations across the Americas, most notably in Chile and US.

Arab Christians are not the only Christian group in the Middle East, with significant non-Arab indigenous Christian communities of ethnic Armenians, Georgians, Greeks and large ethno-religious Christian groups of Copts, Maronites and Syriacs, who are being argued whether their ethnic identity is Arab or not. Even though sometimes classified as Arab Christians, the largest Middle Eastern Christian groups of Lebanese Maronites and Egyptian Copts claim a non-Arab ethnicity. Many of the Maronites claim descent from ancient Phoenicians, while some Egyptian Copts also eschew an Arab identity, preferring an Ancient Egyptian one. However, both Maronites and Copts had lost their linguistic differentiation during the Ottoman period in favor of the Arabic language.

The Syriac Christian groups, composed largely of Chaldo-Assyrians, form the majority of Christians in Iraq, north east Syria, south-east Turkey and north-west Iran. They are generally defined as non-Arab ethnic groups, including by the governments of Iraq, Iran and Turkey, having their own native dialects of Syriac-Aramaic language, in addition to sometimes also speaking local Arabic dialects. Despite their ancient pre-Arabic roots and distinct linguo-cultural identities,[6] Assyro-Chaldeans are sometimes related by Western sources as "Christians of the Arab World" or "Arabic Christians", creating confusion about their identity.[7] Syriac Christians were also related as "Arab Christians" by pan-Arab movements and Arab-Islamic regimes against their will.[8][9]

Contents

History

Classic antiquity

Isaac of Nineveh an Bahrani bishop and theologian, 7th century (ortodox icon).

Arab Christians are indigenous to the Middle East, with a presence there predating the 7th century Islamic expansion into the Fertile Crescent. There were many Arab tribes which adhered to Christianity beginning with the 1st century, including the Nabateans (who incorporated elements of both Arabs and Arameans), the Ghassanids[10] and the Lakhmids. The latter were of Qahtani origin and spoke Yemeni-Arabic as well as Greek, and who protected the south-eastern frontiers of the Roman and Byzantine Empires in north Arabia.[citation needed]

Nabateans were possibly among the first Arab tribes to arrive to Southern Levant in the first millennium BCE. At first, they were converted to Judaism, during the expansion campaigns of the Hasmonean Kingdom at the first and second centuries BCE. However, by the fourth century Nabateans had converted to Christianity.[11] The new Arab invaders, who soon pressed forward into their seats found the remnants of the Nabataeans transformed into peasants. Their lands were divided between the new Qahtanite Arab tribal kingdoms of the Byzantine vassals the Ghassanid Arabs and the Himyarite vassals the Kindah Arab Kingdom in North Arabia.

The tribes of Tayy, Abd Al-Qais, and Taghlib are also known to have included many Christians in the pre-Islamic period. The Yemenite city of Najran was a center of Arabian Christianity, made famous by the persecution by one of the kings of Yemen, Dhu Nawas, who was himself an enthusiastic convert to Judaism. The leader of the Arabs of Najran during the period of persecution, Al-Harith, was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church as St. Aretas. Some modern scholars suggest that Philip the Arab was the first Christian emperor of Rome.[12] By the 4th century a significant number of Christians occupied the Sinai peninsula, Mesopotamia and Arabia.

In the New Testament

The New Testament has a biblical account of Arab conversion to Christianity recorded in the book of Acts. When St. Peter preaches to the people of Jerusalem, they ask, "And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? [. . .] both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God." (Acts 2:8, 11, English Standard Version).[13][verification needed] Arab Christians are thus one of the oldest Christian communities.

The first mention of Christianity in Arabia occurs in the New Testament as the Apostle Paul refers to his journey in Arabia following his conversion (Galatians 1: 15-17). Later, Eusebius of Caesarea discusses a bishop named Beryllus in the see of Bostra, the site of a synod c. 240 and two Councils of Arabia. Christians existed in Arab lands from the 3rd century onward.[12]

After Islamic conquest

Throughout many eras of history, Christians have co-existed fairly peacefully with their fellow non-Christian Arab neighbours, principally Muslims and Jews.[citation needed] Even after the rapid expansion of Islam from the 7th century onwards through the Islamic conquests, many Christians chose not to convert to Islam. Many scholars and intellectuals like Edward Said believed Christians in the Arab world have made significant contributions to the Arab civilization and still do. Some of the top poets at certain times were Arab Christians, and many Arab Christians were physicians, writers, government officials, and people of literature.[14]

However, there have been many periods of persecution also,[citation needed] and Christians were often subject to Jizyah, a discriminatory tax.[citation needed] As "People of the Book", Christians in the region are accorded certain rights under Islamic law (Shari'ah) to practice their religion, strictly conditioned, however, on paying a tax required from non-Muslims called 'Jizyah' (pronounced Jiz-ya), in form of either cash or goods. The tax was not levied on slaves, women, children, monks, the old, the sick,[15][16] hermits, or the poor.[17] In return, non-Muslim citizens were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to Muslim state's protection from outside aggression, to be exempted from military service and the zakat, a form of tax which is obligatory upon Muslim citizens.[18][19][20]

Christian martyr Saint Abo, the patron saint of Tbilisi

In the post-Ottoman era

Some of the most influential Arab nationalists were Arab Christians, like George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Syrian intellectual Constantin Zureiq. Many Palestinian Christians were also active in the formation and governing of the Palestinian National Authority since 1992. THe suicide bomber Jules Jammal, a Syrian military officer who blew himself up while ramming a French ship, was also an Arab Christian.

Arab Christians today

Egypt

Most Egyptian Christians are Copts and are mainly members of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Although Copts in Egypt speak Egyptian Arabic, many of them do not consider themselves to be ethnically Arabs, but rather descendants of the Ancient Egyptians. The Copts constitute the largest population of Christians in the Middle East, numbering between 4,000,000 and 19,000,000.[21] The liturgical language of the Copts, the Coptic language, is a direct descendant of the Ancient Egyptian language. Coptic remains the liturgical language of all Coptic churches inside and outside of Egypt.

It is estimated that a further 1% (approx 810,000) of Egypt's population are Christians but not Copts.[22]

Iraq

Christianity arrived in Iraq between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD. The Sassanid ruled province of Assyria (Assuristan) became a center of the Church of the East and Syriac religious literature. In Iraq, Christians today number about 636,000 in 2005, representing 3% of the population of the country. The vast majority are Assyrians who are concentrated in the north, particularly in villages and towns in the Nineveh Plains, the Dohuk region, and in and around cities such as Mosul, Arbil, Kirkuk and in Baghdad. They tend to be mostly followers of the Assyrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church or the Ancient Church of the East. There are also a small numbers of Armenian and Kurdish converts. There are also a proportion of Arab Christians in the center of cities.

Israel

About 122,000 Arab Christians are living in Israel as Arab citizens of Israel, with some of them also self-identifying as Palestinian Arab Christians. Those form an 80% majority of the Christians in Israel, with smaller Christian communities of ethnic Russians, Greeks, Armenians, Maronites, Ukrainians and Assyrians. The majority of Arab Christians in Israel belong to the Greek Orthodox Church, with a sizeable minority belonging to the Greek Catholic and Latin Churches.

Jordan

John of Damascus an Arab monk and presbyter, 7th century (Greek icon).

In Jordan, Christians constitute about 7% of the population (about 400,000 people), though the percentage dropped sharply from 18% in the early beginning of the 20th century. This drop is largely due to influx of Muslim Arabs from Hijaz after the First World War, the low birth rates in comparison with Muslims and the large numbers of majorly Muslim Palestinian Arabs (85-90% Muslim), who fled to Jordan after 1948. Nearly 70-75% of Jordanian Christians belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church.[citation needed] The rest are Catholics, with a small minority adhering to Protestantism.[citation needed]

Christians are well integrated in the Jordanian society and have a high level of freedom.[citation needed] Nearly all Christians belong to the middle or upper classes. Moreover, Christians enjoy more economic and social opportunity in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan than elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.[citation needed] They have a disproportionately large representation in the Jordanian parliament (10% of the Parliament) and hold important government portfolios, ambassadorial appointments abroad, and positions of high military rank.[citation needed] Jordanian Christians are allowed by the public and private sectors to leave work to attend Divine Liturgy or Mass on Sundays. All Christian religious ceremonies are publicly celebrated. Christians have established good relations with the royal family and the various Jordanian government officials and they have their own ecclesiastic courts for matters of personal status.

Most native Christians in Jordan identify themselves as Arab,[citation needed] though there are also significant non-Arab Assyro-Chaldean, Syriac and Armenian ethnic groups in the country.

Lebanon

The earliest indisputable tradition of Christianity in Lebanon can be traced back to Saint Maron in the 4th century, the founder of national and ecclesiastical Maronitism. Saint Maron adopted an ascetic, reclusive life on the banks of the Orontes river near HomsSyria and founded a community of monks who preached the Gospel in the surrounding area. The Saint Maron Monastery was too close to Antioch, making the monks vulnerable to emperor Justinian II’s persecution. To escape persecution, Saint John Maron, the first Maronite patriarch-elect, led his monks into the Lebanese mountains; the Maronite monks finally settled in the Qadisha valley. During the Muslim conquest, Muslims persecuted the Christians, particularly the Maronites, with the persecution reaching a peak during the Umayyad caliphate. Nevertheless, the influence of the Maronite establishment spread throughout the Lebanese mountains and became a considerable feudal force[citation needed]. After the Muslim Conquest, the Maronite Church became isolated and did not reestablish contact with the Church of Rome until the 12th century.[23] According to Kamal Salibi some Maronites may have been descended from an Arabian tribe, who immigrated thousands of years ago from the Southern Arabian peninsula. Salibi maintains "It is very possible that the Maronites, as a community of Arabian origin, were among the last Arabian Christian tribes to arrive in Syria before Islam".[23] Many Lebanese Christians reject this however, and point out that they are of pre Arab origin.

Lebanon holds the largest number of Christians in the Arab world proportionally and falls just behind Egypt in absolute numbers. It is known that Christians made up between 65%-85%[citation needed] of Lebanon's population before the Lebanese Civil War, if not more, and they still form 48%-50%[citation needed] of the population today (if all refugees and immigrants of the Muslim faith are excluded); if one counts the estimated 10-15 million strong diaspora, they form more than the majority of the population. The exact number of Christians is uncertain because no official census has been made in Lebanon since 1932. Lebanese Christians belong mostly to the Maronite Catholic Church and Greek Orthodox, with sizable minorities belonging to the Melkite Greek Catholics. Lebanese Christians are the only Christians in the Middle East with a sizeable political role in the country. The Lebanese president, half of the cabinet, and half of the parliament follow one of the various Lebanese Christian rites.

Palestinian Territories

In 2009, about 173,000 Palestinian Christians lived under the Palestinian National Authority across the West Bank and Gaza Strip,[24] Both the founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, George Habash, and the founder if its offshoot the DFLP, Nayif Hawatmeh, were Christians, as is prominent Palestinian activist and former Palestinian Authority minister Hanan Ashrawi.

Syria

Mosaic depicting Mary holding an Arabic text, Convent of Our Lady, a Greek Orthodox Church in Sednaya, Syria

In Syria, according to the 1960 census, Christians formed just under 15% of the population (about 1.2 million people)Due to political reasons, no newer census has been taken since. Current estimates suggest that overall Christians comprise about 10% of the overall population (2,000,000), due to having lower birth rates and higher emigration rates than their Muslim compatriots. The Arab Christians in Syria are Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, with some Roman Catholics.The largest Christian denomination in Syria is the Greek Orthodox church, formerly known as the Melkite church after the 5-6th centuries Christian split, in which they stayed loyal to Constantinople ("melek" = king, is the Aramaic denomination for the Byzantine Emperor). The appellation "Greek" refers to the liturgy they use, sometimes used to refer to the ancestry and ethnicity of the members, however not all members are of Greek ancestry; in fact the Arabic word used is "Rum", which means "Byzantines", or Eastern Romans. Overall, the term is generally used to refer mostly to the Greek liturgy, and the Greek Orthodox denomination in Syria. Arabic is now its main liturgical language. Today, a minority of Syrian Christians hold on to their ethnic Syriacs (also called Assyrians or Chaldo-Assyrians and Armenians origins, with a major influx of Iraqi Christian refugees into these communities.

North Africa

There are tiny communities of Roman Catholics in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and Morocco due to colonial rule - French rule for Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, Spanish rule for Morocco, and Italian rule for Libya. Most Christians in North Africa are foreign missionaries, immigrant workers, and people of French, Spanish, and Italian colonial descent. These mostly converted during the modern era or under French colonialism. Arguably, many more North African Christians of Berber or Arab descent live in France than in North Africa, due to the exodus of the pieds-noirs in the 1960s. Charles de Foucauld was renowned for his missions in North Africa among Muslims, including African Arabs.

Diaspora

Hundreds of thousands of Arab Christians also live in the diaspora, outside of the Middle East. These are residing in such countries as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela among them. There are also many Arab Christians in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, France (due to its historical connections with Lebanon and North Africa), and Spain (due to its historical connections with northern Morocco), and to a lesser extent in Ireland, Germany, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands. Among those, across Europe and the Americas, an estimated 400,000 Palestinian Arab Christians are living in the Palestinian diaspora.

Religion

The Arab Christians largely belong to the Greek Orthodox or Antiochian Orthodox Churches, though there are also adherents to other churches: Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Latin Catholic Church, Chaldean Catholic Church and Protestant Churches.

Doctrine

Like Arab Muslims, Arab Christians refer to God as Allah, as an Arabic word for "God".[25][26] The use of the term Allah in Arab Christian churches predates Islam by several centuries.[25] In more recent times (especially since the mid-19th century), some Arab speaking Christians from the Levant region have been converted from these native, traditional churches to more recent Protestant ones, most notably Baptist and Methodist churches[citation needed]. This is mostly due to an influx of Western, predominantly American Evangelical, missionaries.

Genetic Studies

Relation of Levantine populations to Phoenicians

Mariam of Abellin

A study in the genetic marker of the Phoenicians led by Pierre Zalloua, showed that the Phoenician genetic marker was found in 1 out of 17 males in the region surrounding the Mediterranean and Phoenician trading centers such as the Levant, Tunisia, Morocco, Cyprus, and Malta. The study focused on the male Y-chromosome of a sample of 1,330 males from the Mediterranean. Colin Groves, biological anthropologist of the Australia National University in Canberra says that the study does not suggest that the Phoenicians were restricted to a certain place, but that their DNA still lingers 3,000 years later.[27][28]

In Lebanon, almost 1 in 3 of Lebanese carry the Phoenician gene in their DNA. This Phoenician signature is distributed equally among different groups (both Christians and Muslims) in Lebanon and that the overall genetic makeup of the Lebanese was found to be similar across various backgrounds.[29] The Phoenician gene in this study refers to haplogroup J2 plus the haplotypes PCS1+ to PCS6+, however the study also states that the Phoenicians also likely had other haplogroups.[30]

In addition, the study found that the J2 ("old levantine haplogroup") was found in an "unusually high proportion" (about 20-30%) among Levantine people such as the Syrians, Lebanese, and the Palestinians. The ancestor haplogroup J is common to about 50% of the Arabic-speaking people of the Southwest Asian portion of the Middle East. A Lebanese Christian who was tested as having the J2 haplogroup stated that "It carries no big meaning," and added he views himself as "Lebanese, Arab and Christian -- in that order."[31]

Another Lebanese citizen tested stated he would be "very proud" to discover he had Phoenician roots."I will be more than happy to have Phoenician roots," said Nabil. Phoenicians started the civilization, they are the ones who invented the alphabet,[32] I would be very proud to be a Phoenician," he adds. Dr Pierre Zalloua says the project's discovery is a "truly unifying message".[33]

He explained,"I think it's a truly unifying message, and for me its very gratifying. Lebanon has been hammered by so many divides, and now a piece of heritage has been unravelled in this project which reminds us that maybe we should forget about differences and pay attention to our common heritage," stated Dr. Pierre Zalloua.[citation needed]

Question of Identity

Arab Christians include descendants of ancient Arab tribes, who were among the first Christian converts, as well as some recent adherents of Christianity. Sometimes, however the issue of self-identification arises regarding specific Christian communities across the Arab world.

Assyrians

After the ascend of the nationalist Ba'ath party in Iraq in 1963 Assyrian Christians were referred to as "Arab Christians" by Arab nationalists who deny the existence of a distinct Assyrian identity. In 1972 a law was passed to use Syriac language in public schools and in media, shortly afterwards however Syriac was banned and Arabic was imposed on Syriac language magazines and newspapers.[34]

By the time of the 1977 census, Assyrians were being referred to as either Arabs or Kurds. Christians were forced to deny their identity as Assyrian nationalism was harshly punished. One example of this "Arabization" program was Iraqi deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, a Chaldean Christian who changed his surname from Youkhana upon joining the Baath.[35]

By the 1990s those Christians who still referred to themselves as "Assyrians" were exempt from the Oil-for-Food program and did not receive their monthly food rations.[35]

They likewise pointed out that Arab nationalist groups have wrongly included Assyrian-Americans in their head count of Arab Americans, in order to bolster their political clout in Washington Some Arab American groups have imported this denial of Assyrian identity to the United States. In 2001, a coalition of Assyrian, Chaldean and Maronite organizations, wrote to the Arab-American Institute, to reprimand them for claiming that Assyrians were Arabs. The asked the Arab-American Institute "to cease and desist from portraying Assyrians and Maronites of past and present as Arabs, and from speaking on behalf of Assyrians and Maronites."[36]

Copts

Maronites

At the March 1936 Congress of the Coast and Four Districts, the Muslim leadership at this conference made the declaration that Lebanon was an Arab country, indistinguishable from its Arab neighbors. In the April 1936 Beirut municipal elections, Christian Maronite and Muslim Politicians were divided along Phoenician and Arab lines in concern of whether the Lebanese coast should be claimed by Syria or given to Lebanon, increasing the already mounting tensions between the two communities.[37]

Lebanese nationalism, which denies Arab identity, has found a strong support among some Maronites and even other Orthodox Christians. However, this form of nationalism, nicknamed Phoenicianism, never developed into an integrated ideology led by key thinkers, but there are a few who stood out more than others: Charles Corm, Michel Chiha, and Said Aql in their promotion of Phoenicianism.[38]

In post civil-war Lebanon, since the Taif agreement, politically Phoenicianism, as an alternate to Arabism, has been restricted to a small group.[39] Phoeniciansm is deeply disputed by some scholars, who have on occasion tried to convince these claims are false and to embrace and accept the Arab identity instead.[40] This conflict of ideas of an identity is believed to be one of the main pivotal disputes between the Muslim and Maronite Christian populations of Lebanon and what mainly divides the country from national unity.[41][42] It's generalized that Muslims focus more on the Arab identity of Lebanese history and culture whereas Christians focus on the pre-arabized & non-Arab spectrum of the Lebanese identity and rather refrain from the Arab specification.[43][44]

Lebanese historian Kamal Salibi (a Protestant Christian) in his 'A House of Many Mansions' [1988] states (ch. 6): "It is very possible that the Maronites, as a community of Arabian origin, were among the last Arabian Christian tribes to arrive in Syria before Islam. Certainly, since the 14th century, their language has been Arabic. Syriac, which is the Christian literary form of Aramaic, was originally the liturgical language of all the Semitic Christian sects, in Arabia as well as in the Levant and Mesapotamia."[citation needed]

During a final session of the Lebanese Parliament, a Marada Maronite MP states his identity as an Arab: "I, the Maronite Christian Lebanese Arab, grandson of Patriarch Estefan Doueihy, declare my pride to be a part of our people’s resistance in the South. Can one renounce what guarantees his rights?"[45]

See also


References

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  2. ^ a b c d e f g [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ [4] "First, they are not recognized as distinct ethnic identities, but rather as segments from the wide "Arab nation" who are "of Christian faith."
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  6. ^ [6]
  7. ^ [7] "In spite of the widespread geographical imaginations of the Middle East as an Arabic and Islamic monolith, supported by Western mass media and some Middle Eastern states high politicians, the Middle East is quite a heterogeneous region. This region comprises numerous ethnic national, religious, linguistic or ethno-religious groups."
  8. ^ [8] "Arab-Islamic regimes in the region assert that all those Christians who live within the confines of 'Arab borders' are 'Arab'."
  9. ^ [9] "Assyrians are an ethnically, linguistically and religiously distinct minority in the Middle Eastern region."
  10. ^ [10]
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  14. ^ http://thechristianarabs.com
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  16. ^ Seed, Patricia. Ceremonies of Possession in Europe's Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640, Cambridge University Press, Oct 27, 1995, pp. 79-80.
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  19. ^ Lewis (1984), pp. 10, 20
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  21. ^ Official population counts put the number of Copts at around 16–18% of the population, while some Coptic voices claim figures as high as 23%. While some scholars defend the soundness of the official population census (cf. E.J.Chitham, The Coptic Community in Egypt. Spatial and Social Change, Durham 1986), other scholars and international observers assume that the Christian share of Egypt's population is higher than stated by the Egyptian government. Most independent estimates fall in a range between 5% and 20%, for example the BBC "Coptic Orthodox Church". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/coptic_1.shtml. Retrieved 27 February 2011.  ("estimates [for the Coptic Orthodox Church] ranged from 6 to 11 million; 6% (official estimate) to 20% (Church estimate)"), the CIA World Factbook "Egypt". The World Factbook. CIA. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/eg.html. Retrieved 27 August 2010.  (9%), Khairi Abaza and Mark Nakhla (25 October 2005). "The Copts and Their Political Implications in Egypt". The Washington Institute. http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2386. Retrieved 27 August 2010.  (10-20%), Encyclopædia Britannica (1985), or Macropædia (15th ed., Chicago) (up to 20%). For a projected 83,000,000+ Egyptians in 2009, a range of 5-20% implies a population of 4 to 17 million.
    In 2008, Pope Shenouda III and Bishop Morkos, bishop of Shubra, declared that the number of Copts in Egypt is more than 12 million. In the same year, father Morkos Aziz the prominent priest in Cairo declared that the number of Copts (inside Egypt) exceeds 16 million. "?". United Copts of Great Britain. 29 October 2008. http://www.unitedcopts.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3073&Itemid=71. Retrieved 27 August 2010.  and "?". العربية.نت. http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2008/08/28/55639.html. Retrieved 27 August 2010.  Furthermore, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Khairi Abaza and Mark Nakhla (25 October 2005). "The Copts and Their Political Implications in Egypt". http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2386. Retrieved 27 August 2010.  Encyclopædia Britannica (1985), and Macropædia (15th ed., Chicago) estimate the percentage of Copts in Egypt to be up to 20% of the Egyptian population.
  22. ^ "CIA World Factbook: Egypt". Central Intelligence Agency. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/eg.html. Retrieved 4 May 2011. "Population: 82,079,636 (July 2011 est.)... Muslim (mostly Sunni) 90%, Coptic 9%, other Christian 1%" 
  23. ^ a b Salibi, Kamal., A house of Many Mansions: The History of Lebanon Reconsidered., University of California Press., Berkeley, 1988. p. 89
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  25. ^ a b Timothy George (2002). Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?: understanding the differences between Christianity and Islam. Zondervan. ISBN 0310247489, 9780310247487. http://books.google.ca/books?id=1L7sx_pR3_EC&pg=PA70&dq=allah+god+christians+arabic&cd=2#v=onepage&q=allah%20god%20christians%20arabic&f=false. 
  26. ^ Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz (2007). The colors of Jews: racial politics and radical diasporism (Illustrated, annotated ed.). Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253219272, 9780253219275. http://books.google.ca/books?id=K392AAAAMAAJ&q=allah+%22arab+jews%22+arabic&dq=allah+%22arab+jews%22+arabic&cd=7. 
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  30. ^ "Haplogroup J2, in general, and haplotypes PCS1+ through PCS6+ therefore represent lineages that might have been spread by the Phoenicians... We do not suggest that the Phoenicians spread only or predominantly J2 and PCS1+ through PCS6+ lineages. They are likely to have spread many lineages from multiple haplogroups" [11]
  31. ^ "In Lebanon DNA may yet heal rifts | Reuters". Uk.reuters.com. http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKL0559096520070912?sp=true. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  32. ^ "Phoenicians did not invent the alphabet"
  33. ^ http://www.news.bbc.co.uk
  34. ^ Indigenous People in Distress, Fred Aprim
  35. ^ a b Jonathan Eric Lewis, Iraqi Assyrians: Barometer of Pluralism, Middle East Quarterly
  36. ^ Coalition of American Assyrians and Maronites Rebukes Arab American Institute, AINA.org
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  45. ^ "The vote of confidence debate – final session | Ya Libnan | World News Live from Lebanon". LB: Ya Libnan. 2009-12-11. http://www.yalibnan.com/2009/12/11/the-vote-of-confidence-debate-final-session/. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 

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