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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Christians (Nasrani) in Israel and Surrounding Areas

Nadene Goldfoot
The 2009 CIA Population Report tells us that there are 123,000 Christian Arabs that are citizens of Israel.  This is 9.1% of the population.  2.5% of the Christian Arabs are Syriac Christians.  Maronite Christians numbering several thousand are living in the Galilee who are former pro-Israeli Lebanese militia members with their families who fled from Lebanon after 2000.  That's when the IDF pulled out.  Christians from the USA and other places that are not Arabs also are living in Israel to the total of 29,000 or 0.4% of the population. 

The 2010 Israel Central Bureau of Statistics  found 1,573,000 Arab citizens of Israel  or 20.4% of the population.  Of this, Muslims, including the Bedouins make up 82% of this population with 9% being Druze.  9% are Christians, so this agrees with the 2009 findings. However, it's a little less than in 2009 with 117,000 Christian Arabs living in Israel.   Nazareth has the largest Christian population.  Christian Arabs are active in politics and are serving in the Knesset. 

Right across the street on the East Side in Judea and Samaria are Arab Christians in the amount of 167,000 or 8% of the population there.  Gaza, an extremely strong Hamas terrorist stronghold, and right across another street on the West Side only has 10,000 Christians or 0.3% of that population. 

Lebanon on the North Side used to be a minority Christian state but had enough power to be led by a Christian once.  Their population is still thought to have 39% Christians.  Major Hadad was from this group and was a great friend of Israel, as he helped to patrol the border.  Syria's population is from 10-15% Christian and Jordan has 6% Christians. 

Getting into these places to take the census is a struggle.  In 1967 the Muslim population in the territories of Judea, Samaria, Gaza and East Jerusalem was 1.5 million.  Today they number almost 4 million.  This rapid growth could be connected to having 10 or more children in a family and even in the Muslim religion of allowing men to have 4 wives.  This is 3 times the world average.  The Christians have had a low birth rate for the past 100 years.  In 2006 the population of Jerusalem was 724,000 or 10% of the population of Israel.  65% were Jewish.  40% of East Jerusalem were Jewish.  32% were Muslims and 2% were Christians.  The word has just been released that Israel plans to build more housing in East Jerusalem due to a housing shortage. 

Many Christians are living abroad but this emmigration has been stemmed.  The Palestinian Authority President Salem Fayyad said that the Christian population grew last year. 

One can also figure that the Christians, who were 7.8% of the population in 1948 are now about 2% of the population today.  This might figure that if there are 4,000,000 Arabs living in the territories, 80,000 are Christians. 

Right next door is Egypt which in 640 CE was predominately Christian.  Today 5-10% of the population are Christians, with 95%  being Copts or belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. There are other Christian groups represented in Egypt as well in the remaining 5%..   This means that there are 10 to 15 million Christians in Egypt as well as 3-4 million living abroad.  A few have been suffering from attacks by their Muslim neighbors lately.  I shall call this Anti-Nasranism acts, for they were killed just for being Christians. 

4 comments:

Linda Johnson said...

I am a Christian, praying for the Jewish people, GOD's chosen people. I love reading the Old Testament of the Bible which records your real and beautiful history. In addition to Jewish histoy, Jewish destiny, looking forward in time, is clearly outlined by the profits of ancient eras. This is what I want to say from the prospective of the Bible, and the prospective of current events: The Jewish people need to make sure that they vote for true Christians or Jews in the United States because the U.S. is your best friend and supporter. obama is not your friend; he favors the muslims.

Nadene Goldfoot said...

Thanks, Linda for your support. I also support your advice. Nadene

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

St. Thomas visited Kerala and introduced Christianity .After St. Thomas other missionaries from Persia came to Kerala and converted many people.. The early converts in Kerala belonging to different grades in society on the basis of occupation were commonly called Christians But the name Christian was changed to Nasrani when the Arabs (Moplahs) came to Kerala. Muslims used the word Nasrani in a contemptuous and derogatory manner. Christians and Jews were hated by Muslims in the Middle East and so they used the word 'Nasrani' in a derogatory and spiteful manner, as the Greeks called others 'barbarians.' Muslims quote the Koran to call Christians and Jews as 'Nasranis.'
This is the basis of the verse. " Jews say: 'Uzair is the son of God' and the Christians say: 'The Messiah, son of God'. Such is their saying with their mouths; they imitate the infidels saying earlier. Allah has cursed them, how are they to turn? "(Surat al-Tawbah: 30) By this interpretation, Muslims regard Christians and Jews infidels and collectively call them ‘Nasrani.’
Even today all Christians are contemptuously called Nasranis in the Middle East by the Arabs. In Kerala also, after the Arabs gave the derogatory name 'Nasranis' to Christians, Brahmins and Nairs also used that word in a derogatory and insulting manner till the arrival of colonial powers. Vrahnins and Nairs made Christians work as coolies, agricultural labourers in their farmlands and compulsory service called ‘oozhiyam.’ The true economic and social condition of the Christians who were ridiculously called Nasranis was recorded by a missionary when European powers were slowly establishing their authority; Abbe J.A. Dubois, a missionary in Mysore, in his letter dated August 7, 1815, writes: “The Jesuits, on their first arrival in India, hearing of them, in one way or other converted the greatest part to the Catholic faith. Their liturgy is to this day in the Syrian language, and in the performance of their religious ceremonies they use this ancient dead tongue. There remains still among them large congregations, consisting of 70 or 80,000 Christians, of whom two-thirds are Catholics, and a third Nestorians. They are all designated under the contemptuous name of Nazarany, and held by the pagans in still greater contempt than the Christians of this part of the country. The Nairs chiefly keep them at a greatest distance, and they form a separate caste.”

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

Continuation of the previous post.

When the Portuguese and the British educated these hapless Christians and appointed them as soldiers, businessmen and planters, Christians ascended to top position in the fields of education, business, plantations, and commerce making Brahmins and Nairs inferiors. The Portuguese were in Kerala for 150 years and during this period there was widespread inter racial marriage between Portuguese and local Hindus. Albuquerque officially encouraged such marriages to increase Christian population. Later the offspring of such marriages married local Christians which eventually led to change in skin color and personality. Gradually the contemptuous name Nasrani was given up and the words, ‘Christians’ and ‘Syrian Christians’ became common usage. But in Arab countries Christians are even today called in a vulgar form, ‘Nasranis.” In a recent riot in Cairo when Muslim fanatics attacked Christians, the Huffington Post dated August 17, 2013 reported the following incident
“Naguib’s home supplies store on a main commercial street in the provincial capital, also called Minya, was torched this week and the flames consumed everything inside.
"A neighbor called me and said the store was on fire. When I arrived, three extremists with knifes approached me menacingly when they realized I was the owner," recounted Naguib. His father and brother pleaded with the men to spare him. Luckily, he said, someone shouted that a Christian boy was filming the proceedings using his cell phone, so the crowd rushed toward the boy shouting "Nusrani, Nusrani," the Quranic word for Christians which has become a derogatory way of referring to them in today's Egypt.”