Dr. Harry Hagopian, a lawyer and analyst who serves as a consultant to the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, is an acute observer of the Arab and Muslim word. In reviewing the past twelve months of tumult and change in countries such as Egypt - which has seen the fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak and increased persecution of Christians - Hagopian reflected on five myths that have sprung from the region in 2011.
1) There has been one uniform uprising by the Arab masses across the whole region in order to rid themselves of oppression and totalitarian regimes to introduce dignity and citizenship rights
2) The uprisings have been 'owned' by the younger 'facebook' generation
3) The popular uprisings dispel the suggestion that Palestine is the hub of the Middle East
4) The West can shape the destiny of the Arab world - the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) region
5) Radical Islam will rule across the region
In view of the massacre of Christians on New Years Day this year in Egypt, for instance, analyst Hagopian reminded fellow Christians elsewhere to remember their persecuted brethren. He said in a podcast, "We conclude by offering a prayer for the Christian communities of the Middle East as we turn our eyes to Bethlehem and the birth of Christ: "It is not our place to tell others how to live their lives. It's our place to stand in solidarity with the Christians of the MENA region, be prayerful with them, speak out alongside them whenever they're concerned, share their joys and celebrations. What better way to share their joy and celebration than now that we're coming to the Christmas season - the Feast of the Nativity." Concluding, Habopian added, "In a sense the whole biblical narrative unfolded in countries like Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. Our thoughts should be with them, our prayers should be with them, we should be watchful as to what happens in the future in a region that is fragile and uncertain."
Listen to the Podcast here