Michelangelo Guida - Istanbul 29 Mayis University
The emergence of an Islamic-oriented government was seen at the beginning as a possible threat to non-Muslim minorities. Nevertheless, the AK Parti government has worked more than others to improve the conditions of the minorities in the country, challenging the previous monist vision of the secular republic. However, the biggest obstacle for the normalization of relations with Christian minorities is represented by widespread intolerance, and the government could do more to stop suspicion of non-Muslim minorities.
Prof. Anna Bono - University of Turin
The future of Christians in Sub-Saharan countries depends very much on the global determination to counteract radicalism and terrorist groups. The will and capacity of Islam to defeat extremists and the resolution of the political and socio-economic problems affecting the area are crucial factors too.
H.E. Habeeb Mohammed Hadi Ali Al Sadr - Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to the Holy See
Due to ISIS occupation of Iraq, all Christian religious leaders across the Middle East advocate swift action by the international community to save the displaced Christians, prevent their emigration from their country, and rid it of their occupiers. If the present scenario persists, we will be responsible for having inflicted a deadly blow to the multiculturality of the Iraqi identity. The new Iraqi generation is entrusted with the construction of a better future in the framework of a consolidation of Christian-Islamic relations, building bridges of peace between religions.
The Critical Need for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Francesco Zannini, PISAI
The Challenges of Christians in Turkey, Michelangelo Guida, Istanbul 29 Mayis Univ.
The Evolving Condition of Christians in the Gulf, J.L. Samaan, NATO Defense College
The Predicament of Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa, Anna Bono, University of Turin
Being a Christian in the Horn of Africa, Federico Battera, University of Trieste
Russia and the Defence of Christians in the Middle East, Marta Allevato, AsiaNews
Christian Women in the Muslim World, Marta Petrosillo, Aid to the Church in Need-Italy
Prof. Francesco Zannini - Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies
Religious freedom and the necessity of dialogue are a pressing concern for Christians in the Middle East, where an interpretation of the Islamic law often denies the right of people to practice their own faith despite the fact that Muslim thinkers of the past were among the first to incorporate ideas of tolerance and safeguards for minorities within their legal systems. Thus Muslim-Christian dialogue will help and sustain the tradition of those Muslim thinkers today.
The Middle East is a rich fabric of interwoven social and cultural identities which should be defended at all times. The very nature of this innate heterogeneous coexistence is the heart of our civilization and one of our greatest treasures to be valued - not destroyed. Although not a Christian myself, I feel that no one can doubt the important role of the “Christians of Levant” in the Arab world. Yet, each time a crisis happens in the Middle East, questions related to the future of Christianity in the region appear.
Marta Allevato - AsiaNews
The attention paid by Russia to Christians in the Middle East is to be considered in the broader strategy of the Cremlin, which aims to regain influence in the region and a key role in the internationl chessboard. As president Vladimir Putin noted, Moscow points to carve out for itself a role as "world leader" alternative to the West, firstly defined as the United States − alternative to its policies, but also to its culture. In this regard, the defence of Middle Eastern Christians and of the so called traditional values turns into to a weapon of soft power to oppose to the West being deemed increasingly degenerate.
Forms of oppression of Christians in the Horn of Africa can be classified according to the source of persecution. The regional particularity is that in at least two cases – Ethiopia and Eritrea – Christians (and some Muslim organizations) suffer persecution at the hand of other co-religionists who simply belong to other Churches. Moreover, oppression comes out from the society and or from militant/extremist group, mainly Islamic but in few cases also Christian. In some cases, it is the society which is intolerant against other forms of religion and/or conversion even in the case when at least officially state protects religious pluralism.
Marta Petrosillo - Aid to the Church in Need-Italy
In order to understand what it is like to be a Christian woman living in a Muslim-majority country, we must take into account both the overall women's condition and the Christian minority situation therein.
Jean-Loup Samaan - Middle East Department, NATO Defense College
The current situation of Christians in the Gulf has to be considered in the broader context of Christians in the Arab world. In recent years, significant numbers of Christian Arabs left their home countries for the Gulf, where the economic prospects and social stability looked brighter. The more the Middle East slides into sectarian conflicts (whether in Syria, in Iraq or in Lebanon), the more Christian Arabs will see the Peninsula as a safe haven. But this does not mean the area is a case study of ideal Christian-Muslim coexistence. Many measures need to be implemented in order to raise the standards of religious freedom in these countries.