Today, when Christianity and policy are discussed, the narrative is often centered on this idea of western values. In reality, Christianity’s rich history and culture started in the Middle East. Now with wars raging and Islamic extremism rampant, this rich history and culture is being decimated in the Middle East. Christian churches that have stood for centuries are being leveled, many Christians are fleeing their homeland for their lives, and Christianity in the Middle East is on the verge of being wiped out.
Despite all this, local and international forces are dedicated to reversing these trends, protecting human rights, and combating religious persecution in the Middle East. Watch and listen as two experts discuss the local and international steps underway to help restore Christianity in the Middle East.
Andrew Doran is Vice President & Senior Policy Advisor at In Defense of Christians. He has traveled widely throughout the Middle East and is the author of dozens of articles about U.S. foreign policy, culture, and human rights. His pieces have been published with CNN, First Things, National Review, The American Conservative, The American Interest, The Daily Beast, The Jerusalem Post, The National Interest, The Washington Examiner, and elsewhere. He has been invited to speak on the subject of religious persecution in the Middle East at the Council on Foreign Relations and previously served on the executive secretariat of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO at the U.S. Department of State. He is an armed forces veteran and attorney, and lives in the Washington, DC area.
Shadi Khalloul is Founder & Chairman of ICAA – Israeli Christian Aramaic Association NGO. He is an Israeli Aramaic Maronite from Kfar Birem. He serves as a Paratrooper Captain in the IDF Reserves. He was born Gush Halav, the Christian Maronite Village in Northern Galilee region in Israel, near the border with Lebanon. He has a degree in International Business and Finance from the University of Las Vegas.
He is acting Chairman of the Aramaic Christian Association, and was previously the IDF Spokesman of Christian officers to integrate Israeli 160,000 Israeli Christians into Jewish society. He is the founder of Paramilitary Educational preparation year for Christian – Jewish youth launched on 2017.
One of Shadi’s biggest successes was to achieve recognition for Christians in Israel be officially registered as Arameans. In 2014, after seven years of work, former Interior Minister Mr. Gidon Saar to approve their appeal to be registered as Arameans instead of Arabs. This achievement allowed recognition of Christians in Israel as an indigenous group with their Aramaic identity and language. Shadi was invited to speak in front of the UN Committee of Minorities and Human Rights, asking them to protect persecuted Middle Eastern Christians and allowing them statehood.
In 2015 Shadi was a candidate for the Knesset leading the “Free Christian Aramaic voice” movement inside Yisrael Betenu party.
Shadi participates in several international conferences and Campuses tours discussing the Jewish – Christian Aramaic relations inside and outside of Israel. He is fearless in explaining the moral treatment of the Christian minority in Israel. Shadi often presents his research on how Israel treat its Christian minority and other minorities. He is on the forefront revealing propaganda against the state of Israel, and is an outspoken defender against BDS campaigns.
Today, Shadi is a fellow with the Philos Project and he hosts many Christian delegations from all over the worlds, showing them his village and teaching them about their Christian roots in Israel. He is dedicated to educating local and foreigner visitors of all nationalities on their Eastern Aramaic Christian roots, identity and language. He calls on Christians worldwide to join forces with Jews in general and Zionist in particular towards everlasting Christian existence in Middle East in their forefathers’ lands and for strong Jewish -Christian relationships worldwide.