AWR (March 29, 2003) — Two articles published in Al-Arabi and Al-Midan, under the titles “Bush… from addicted to alcohol to falsifying the Holy Bible” and “The addict who became a president of the US,” shed light on the spiritual development in the life of Bush and the effect of religion on his political attitudes.
Despite the fact that Bush was born to religious parents, he did not follow in their steps. He was an alcohol addict till after his marriage. Rev. Billy Graham, one of the most prominent Zionist Christian Right Wing members, is the person who helped Bush to leave that addiction and turn to fundamentalist Christianity. Bush himself said that Graham “is the man who led me to the Lord.”
Bush tends to interpret political events from a religious angle – which is clear in many of his statements. He always speaks about the “Lord” and the “conflict between good and evil.” Rev. Frits Rezch [the name is a transliteration] commented on this fact in an article in the Washington Post titled “The Lord and Man in the White House.” He wrote that it has never been clear as it is now that the US is politically Christian.
In an article titled: “Bush’s Crusade War has nothing to do with Christianity,” Muhammad Morow comments in Al-Ahram on religion and politics in Bush’s life. He believes that Bush exploits Christianity and the Biblical language he uses in his statements to justify his “barbaric war” against Iraq. He stresses, however, that “real Christianity” is innocent of what Bush is doing.
Is Bush’s war on Iraq a new Crusade and does it have any relation with Christianity? Under the title “The US war on Iraq reenacts the crusade times,” Bashire Al-Adel gives in Al-Wafd an overview of Iraqi writer, Sohalia Al-Husseini’s book “Crusade Wars… Stands and Challenges.” Al-Husseini points out that the attacks of September 11 disclosed the fact that the US wants to launch a Crusade against Muslims. She adds that finding strategic and economic points in the Arab and Islamic world is the smallest dream of the US administration, which is governed by Zionist culture. However, its biggest dream is to uproot and wipe out the Islamic identity.
Bishop Yohanna Qulta, the deputy Catholic Patriarch of Egypt, told Al-Arabi that “Christ is innocent of Bush’s gang.” He believes that “Bush uses Christianity as armor… he is very far away from religious values.” He adds that: “Bush is a very religious Christian to the extent of extremism.” He believes that Bush did mean the word “crusade” when he stated that he would launch a crusade against terrorism.
Bishop Qulta criticizes the beliefs of the Methodist Church to which Bush belongs. He also comments on the role Pope John Paul II plays regarding the Iraqi war. He expresses disappointment at the fact that the authority of religious leaders is not as strong as it was in the past.
Regarding the role of Pope John Paul II, Asharq Al-Awsat reports that he warned against the “disastrous consequences” of the war on Iraq. He asked political leaders in Baghdad to fully cooperate with the international community and to remove any justifications for military attacks.
Al-Gomhuriya reports that the Kuwaiti Salafi Movement declared that the war on Iraq is a crusade and that participation in such a war is haram [religiously forbidden]. The movement called upon the Arab League and the Islamic Conference Organization to activate their decisions that reject the American aggression on Iraq. It also stressed its solidarity with the Iraqi people in its crisis.
The stand of Arab Christians and official religious institutions towards the war on Iraq is touched upon in four articles in Asharq Al-Awsat, October, Al-Usboa andAl-Midan.
Karim Baqradouni writes in Asharq Al-Awsat: “If Bush just listened to the voices of the Christians of Lebanon and the East!” He believes that it would be much better if Bush listened to the anti-war voices of Eastern Christians rather than these of Zionist Christians in his administration. He stresses that Christians of Lebanon and the East are against the coalition between Jews and Zionist Christians and are in solidarity with Muslims and Arabs. He criticizes Jews for turning the US war on Iraq [through their media] into a crusade against Muslims exactly as they before turned the war on terrorism into a war on Muslims.
He expresses the opinion that the US war on terrorism is ethically justified, as terrorism threatens the whole world and not only the US. However, the war on Iraq is unjustified despite the fact that Bush tried to associate it with his war on terrorism.
In his article “Has the Lord asked Bush to save humanity from Saddam?” Usama Farid stresses that there is a wide gap between what president Bush calls for and what tolerant Christianity teaches. He praises the anti-war attitudes of Pope John Paul II, Methodist preacher Melvin [no surname was given] and other Christians who call for peace.
Al-Usboa reports that Dr. Safwat Al-Bayadi, head of the Protestant Community Council in Egypt, has stated: “[If] those who do not make peace are not members in God’s people, what then is the situation of those who launch wars?” Al-Bayadi gave the statement in a meeting at Ezbekia Presbyterian Church. He has pointed out the anti-war efforts of Protestant Churches in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and the UK. All participants have declared full rejection of the war on Iraq.
Ragab Al-Banna writes in October magazine: “Bush walks alone.” He believes that Bush is walking alone as he does not listen to the anti-war calls. He points out the anti-war demonstrations taking place all over the world and the anti-war stands of Christian institutions, such as the World Council of Churches, Europe Council of Churches, National Council for the Churches of Christ in the US, Middle East Council of Churches and the Vatican.
Finally, Al-Hayat publishes an article of Hubert Védrines, former French Minister of Foreign Affairs, that discusses the theory of clashes between civilizations, under the title “How can we deny the existence of a clash between the West and Islam?” He says that a clash does exist between Islam and the West. Such a clash cannot be denied, as its aspects are very clear. He adds that Huntington is not to be blamed for his theory, as he wanted to attract our attention to the danger of the clash.
© Arab-West Report 2003.
Posted on Religioscope with permission.
The Arab-West Report (AWR) offers weekly translations and summaries from the Arabic press on Arab-West relations including Islam and Muslim-Christian relations. The AWR aims to show these subjects in a wider context, including a variety of opinions from press material ranging from government-oriented, leftist, liberal and Islamist sources, which should help editors, journalists, academics, religious leaders, government officials and others balance the often one-sided presentation on these subjects. Subscribers can ask the service for articles or further research on topics related to the Egyptian media.
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