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Archbishop comments on Christians criticized

June 16, 2011 2:32 P.M. (Updated: June 17, 2011 10:10 A.M.)
LONDON (Ma'an) -- The Palestine Solidarity Campaign issued a statement Wednesday criticizing the Archbishop of Canterbury calling Bethlehem Christians a "marginalized minority."

The Archbishop told the BBC that the Arab Spring had led to a "very anxious time" for Christians in the Middle East.

He noted an increase in attacks against Christian populations in Egypt and Iraq, and extended concern to Palestinian Christians, citing encroaching Muslim communities, and making no mention of Israel's occupation of Bethlehem as part of the Palestinian West Bank.

The oversight prompted angry responses from some Palestinian Christians, who felt that the Archbishop had overlooked the Israeli occupation as the principal reason for Christian emigration.

In a statement released by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Sarah Colborne said "the Archbishop of Canterbury has a reputation for courage and candor.

"However, his reputation has been damaged by failing to address the impact of decades of brutal Israeli occupation in pushing Palestinians – including Christians – out of Bethlehem. Palestinian Christians and Muslims are working together for peace, justice and freedom.

"We trust the Archbishop will take the suffering of Palestinian Christians to heart, and urgently speak out on Israel’s role in the deterioration of Palestinian life, including in Bethlehem and Jerusalem."
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