The phenomenon of the “islamochristian” deserves wider attention, and the word wider use. An “islamochristian” is a Christian Arab who identifies with and works to advance the Islamic agenda, out of fear or out of a belief that his “Arabness” requires loyalty to Islam. Islamization by the Arab Muslim conquerors of Mesopotamia, Syria, and North Africa was a vehicle for Arab imperialism. This imperialism, the most successful in human history, convinced those who accepted Islam to also forget their own pre-Islamic or non-Islamic pasts. It caused them, in many cases, to forget their own languages and to adopt Arabic — and in using Arabic, and in adopting Arabic names, within a few generations they had convinced themselves that they were Arabs.
Some held out. The Copts in Egypt today are simply the remnants of a population that was entirely Coptic, and that has suffered steady and slow asphyxiation. How many of Egypt’s Arabs are in fact Copts who fail to realize this, much less have any sympathy or interest in how their Coptic ancestors, out of intolerable pressure, assumed the identity of Arabs?
In Lebanon, the mountains provided a refuge for the Maronites, by far the most successful group to withstand the Muslims. And most Maronites are quick to make the important distinction that, while they are “users of Arabic,” that does not make them “Arabs.” When they claim that they predate the Arab invasion (which of course they do) and are the descendants of the previous inhabitants of Lebanon, the Phoenicians, they are greeted with ridicule. But why? Where did the Phoenicians go? Did they just disappear? It is far more plausible to believe that the Maronites and the others in Lebanon are, most of them (for how many real “Arabs” actually came from the Arabian peninsula to conquer far more numerous populations of non-Arabs?) the descendants of those Phoenicians. The Maronites recognize this; the Muslims do not, because for them the superior people, the people to whom the Qur’an was “given” and “in their language,” are the Arabs. The sense of Arab supremacy comes not only from the fact that the Qur’an was written in Arabic (with bits of Aramaic still floating in it), but because the Sunna, the other great guide for Muslims, consists of, and is derived from, the hadith and the sira, and reflects the life of people in 7th century Arabia.
Thus one sees the forcibly-converted descendants of Hindus, the Muslims of India and Pakistan, full of supposed “descendants of the Prophet” who are identified by the name “Sayeed.” It is as if, in the middle of a former British colony, say Uganda, black Africans gave themselves such names as Anthony Chenevix-ffrench or Charles Hardcastle, and dressed like remote Englishmen at Agincourt, or Ascot, and insisted, to one and all, that they were indeed lineal descendants of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen, or Hereward the Wake, or Ethelred the Unready.
Yet when those whose ancestors were forcibly converted to Islam (and force can be not military force, but the incessant and relentless pressure of dhimmitude, which will over time cause many to give up and embrace the belief-system of the oppressor) and adopted the names, and mimicked the dress and the manners and customs of Muslims — which are essentially those of a distant time and place (Arabia, more than a thousand years ago) — we do not smile or think it absurd. A few Muslim “intellectuals” in East Asia occasionally suggest that local customs and ways, even local expressions of music and art, ought not to be sacrificed to the Sunna of Islam, but to no avail.
And so strong is the power of Islam among the Arabs, so ingrained is their desire to ward off Muslim displeasure, that unless they do not feel themselves to be Arabs but a self-contained community (Copts, Maronites) that has managed to survive, they are very likely to reflect the Muslim views and promote the Muslim agenda.
Nowhere can this be seen better than among the “Palestinian” Arabs. Michel Sabbagh is only one example. The Sabbagh who gave $6.5 million to support Esposito’s pro-Muslim empire at Georgetown was a “Christian.” (Note to James V. Schall: can you convince Georgetown’s administration to sever its now-embarrassing tie to Esposito? At some point he, and Georgetown, have to part ways, for the sake of Georgetown’s reputation and continued support from alumni.) The gun-running icon-stealing Archbishop Hilarion Cappucci was, in name, a Melkite Catholic; he was, in his essence, a PLO supporter. Islamochristian promoters of the Jihad — beginning with the Jihad against Israel — include a few “Palestinian” Presybterians who have carefully burrowed within, and risen within, the bureaucracy of the Presbyterian Church in America (no names here, but you can easily find them out), and Naim Ateek, who comes to delude audiences of Christians about the “Palestinian struggle” even as the Christian population of the “Palestinian” territories has plummeted, since Israel relinquished control, from 20% to 2% — out of fear of Muslim “Palestinians.”
Nor, of course, do Michel Sabbagh and his ilk pay much attention to the situation of Christians in the Sudan, or Indonesia, or Pakistan. Why would they? It would get in the way of their promotion of the Islamic attempt not only to reduce Israel to the dimensions that will allow them to go in for the final kill, but to seize control of the Holy Land. What, after all, do you think would happen to that Holy Land if Israel were to disappear? Do you think the Christian sites would be as scrupulously preserved? As available to pilgrims? Would Christians walk around Jerusalem if it were under the rule of Muslims with quite the same feelings of security that they do now?
No? Why not? And don’t expect Michel Sabbagh to give you a truthful answer.