Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The View of America in the Arab World...

On Christmas Day I was invited to dinner at the Project Hope Community in Dorchester, Massachusetts. One of the guests was an American woman who has spent the past 30 years working in the Middle East as a medical missionary. Most of this time was spent in Cairo and Suez.

The conversation about changing attitudes in the Arab world left me again questioning our intervention in Iraq.

She pointed out that her community had closed their project earlier this year in Suez because of growing hostility towards Christians in that part of the world. As an aside, she pointed out that since we "liberated" Iraq the substantial Christian community in Baghdad has almost disappeared. Most have left Iraq because of fear for their safety.

This America woman, who has spent her adult professional life in the Arab world, had some very critical things to say about American foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East. She talked about the growing hostility, especially among young people, towards the Bush Administration. She pointed to American policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the invasion of Iraq as major factors in generating widespread hatred for the American government.

It was not a very hopeful conversation on a day we were supposed to be celebrating peace and goodwill among all peoples.


As you may have suspected, the woman I referred to above is a Catholic nun. She's a member of a religious order that is headquartered in Paris, France. What surprised me was her description of the intensity of Moslem hostility towards Christians. This story in yesterday's Guardian (UK) tends to validate what she had to say.