In June 2015, the Islamic charitable association Maqāsid promoted the drafting of the Beirut Declaration, a document that aims to counter religious violence and promote an enlightened interpretation of Islamic culture. One of the contributors condemns the subversive rhetoric used by extremists against both Christians and Muslims. His position is born out of a conciliatory interpretation of Islam, and the belief that Muslims need Christians (and vice versa) in order to survive.
The concerns currently gripping Eastern Christians are not unfounded. It is a reaction to the tragic events that have shaken many Arab countries, and in which the victims were Christians. People who have been killed for their faith, forced to emigrate, taken prisoner and deprived of their places of worship, churches and monasteries. This wave of religious extremism, characterised by violence and dominion over vast areas (especially in Iraq and Syria), but above all by its subversive, Takfiri slogans, has not been met by an Islamic counterwave capable of a robust legal and practical response. This has increased among Christians the feelings of frustration and fear for their future and destiny. The resulting mass emigrations represent an unprecedented phenomenon in the history of modern Muslim-Christian relations. Since the middle of the twentieth century, the percentage of Christians living in Arab countries has fallen by more than half, and the bleeding is likely to increase if subversive extremism continues to grow. Christians have many reasons to be concerned. The most important of these is linked to certain religious notions espoused by extremist Islamic movements, which they interpret as central tenets of the Islamic faith, but which, in point of fact, are nothing of the sort.
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