The main immigration of Lebanese, entirely Christian, arrived here between roughly 1880 and 1940. They came because Western pressure on the Ottoman government, while it led theoretically to a formal improvement in the legal treatment of non-Muslims in the Ottoman domains, in fact caused great unease among Muslims. The massacre of the Maronites in Damascus in 1860 was one such manifestation. Those Lebanese who arrived, whose papers might describe them as “Syrians” or even as “Turcos,” were in fact refugees from Islam and the encroachments of Islam, even if they did not talk of it that way, but were simply seen as economic migrants from the Ottoman Empire.
And in recent decades other Christians have arrived from Lebanon, both Maronites (most keenly aware that they are Arabic-using but not Arabs) and the slightly different case of Greek Orthodox Christians. Some of them are more willing to assume that the imposed use of the Arabic language means that they must — as Muslim Arabs insist — think of themselves as “Arabs” and, as “Arabs,” naturally identify with the chief gift and identifying characteristic of the Arabs, Islam, even if they are not Believers themselves. They must adopt the views and promote the agenda of Muslim Arabs in order to fit in or to be tolerated.
What has happened in recent years should be transparent, but it is not. Muslim Arabs, who have arrived recently (unlike the Lebanese Christians) have cynically attempted to pretend that there is an identity of interests between the descendants of Arabic-speaking Christians who were essentially fleeing from Islam and its inevitable pressures and menaces, and Muslim Arabs. It is as if some unreconstructed group of German Nazis, having made it to America recently, had pretended to make common cause — that shared “Deutschtum” — with the descendants of those who had fled the Nazis, both Jewish and non-Jewish Germans.
Those who think of themselves as descendants of those Lebanese Christian refugees should be aware of how these so-called “Arab-American” groups have been infiltrated by, taken over in many places by, those who are really promoting Islam, and whom their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents would have had no trouble in detecting, and denouncing, and shunning. The “Arab-American” identity is not one thing, but is used by Muslims in this country to backdate their arrival, to appropriate the good reputation of those Lebanese immigrants, and to relentlessly promote their own, quite different and sinister objectives. Those objectives have nothing to do with the enthusiastic acceptance of America, and its equal treatment of adherents for all religions, as well as its political and legal institutions, that was offered by Lebanese Christian immigrants.
They should be very careful, not least because of that handful of islamochristians who are willing to promote Islam’s agenda, and thus sully the name, even blacken the name, of those who have nothing to do with that agenda, and deplore it. Muslims in this country have been attempting to exploit, for their own purposes, the good reputation, and influence, of those who are described usually as “Lebanese” in origin, a word that covers all those whose Maronite (or other Christian) ancestors fled present-day Lebanon, or Syria, beginning at the end of the 19th century. These people, or their descendants, make up more than 70% of all those described, quite cunningly, as “Arab-Americans” but is, at least in the case of the Maronites, whose existence in Lebanon predates the arrival of the Arab Muslim invaders, a completely misleading description. They may use Arabic, they may have Arabic names (though of course the fashion in recent decades, to demonstrate that non-Arabness, has been French names — Georges and Philippe and Antoine and Brigitte and so on). They are not Arabs, but rather Arabic-speaking descendants of those who managed to remain Maronites because the mountainous geography of the Lebanon. And proximity to both Byzantium (not fully under Muslim control until the fifteenth century), and to the Western world by sea, prevented the kind of islamization that, for example, Mesopotamia (also a center for Christianity) experienced, with the last indigenous remnants being harassed, persecuted, and murdered in Iraq today.
The falsity of this “Arab-American” identity is being used by Muslims to establish their own bona fides, to take advantage of the good will that accrues to Christians (and therefore Christian refugees, of one sort or another) from the Middle East, and above all, to attempt to swell the numbers and perceived power of those who may mistakenly be assumed by American politicians to be part of some Islamic lobby whose demands must be met — when in fact these Lebanese, like the Copts with whom they now are making common cause, have nothing to do with, are the first victims of, Islam.
Perceiving the various methods of Islamic propaganda, and attempts to create a factitious connection between the Muslim who arrives from the Middle East, and the Christian (or Jew) who arrives, the latter being victims of Islam — requires vigilance.
The victims of Islam, in the Middle East itself, as Bat Ye’or has noted, seldom aided one another, so afraid were they of the circumambient Muslims, and so intent on striking their own deals and pleasing their Muslim masters or would-be masters. That phenomenon can be found among some Christians in the Middle East today. Do the Greek Orthodox Arabs sufficiently side with the Maronites? Or for that matter do the Catholic Egyptians stand up for the Copts? And have not the Copts in Egypt helped to prove their “loyalty” by being, at times, as fierce in their demonstrations of antipathy to Israel as any Muslim, in the vain hope that somehow that will improve their own lot in Egypt?
Whatever false stratagems for survival, both understandable and yet deplorable, were employed within the Middle East, they should not be employed in the Infidel lands. There, and especially in the United States, all the victims of Jihad and Sharia should spend their time making alliances with one another, and above all in alerting the naive indigenes about the real nature of Islam — lest that Islam follow those Maronites, those Copts, those Assyrians, those Jews, those Armenians from Haleb or Beirut — right to this country, where they had believed they would at last be safe from the persecutions of Islam, the power of Islam, the menace of Islam.