In the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi
columnist Hussein Shubakshi discussed the phenomenon of Christian
emigration from Arab countries. He criticized the fact that this trend
was being ignored, and warned of its serious and far-reaching
ramifications for Arab society as a whole.
The following are excerpts from Shubakshi’s article: 
"[Jewish Emigration from Arab Countries] Helped Invalidate the
Claim that Religious Moderation, Coexistence, and 'Acceptance of the
Other' [Prevailed in Arab Countries]"
"The Arab East was [once] a paragon of peaceful coexistence
between different religious groups. Abundant evidence of this model
arrangement could be found in school classrooms, trading companies, and
cultural projects. [This situation existed] until the Jews were
expelled from the Arab countries for the first time, which took place
in the wake of the declaration of the Zionist state. The response [to
this declaration] by the security apparatuses of several Arab
governments was inane, in that they came to regard the Jewish
communities with suspicion, skepticism, and apprehension, and tormented
them in order to force them to emigrate [from Arab countries]. Neither
can the despicable activities of Zionist organizations be ignored -
[activities] aimed at frightening the [Jewish] communities, thereby
forcing them to emigrate to Israel.
"[Jewish emigration from Arab countries] had a significant
negative impact on the material wellbeing of society, and on economic
diversity, in the Arab world. It helped invalidate the claim that
religious moderation, coexistence, and 'acceptance of the other'
[prevailed in Arab countries].
"It is obvious that, today another wave of emigration is
underway, and that the Arab world is being drained of its Christian
residents. The rate of Christian emigration from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq,
Egypt, Palestine, Sudan, and Syria has reached astonishing proportions.
Palestine in particular is facing a plan to eradicate the entire
deeply-rooted Christian presence from all its territories. Christian
Palestinian emigrants settle primarily in Chile, especially the capital
Santiago, where the Palestinian Christian [community] now numbers
70,000. There is also a process of Christian migration from other Arab
regions to Europe, Australia, the U.S., and Canada."
Today, Extremism "Has Become the Most Powerful Means of Expelling Christians from Their Arab Motherland"
"With the spread of extremism and the prevailing lack of
understanding of the basic [principles] of coexistence with the other -
which were put into practice by the Prophet [Muhammad himself] - it
comes as no surprise that an extremist vision dominates the religious
discourse. This is what is happening today: [Extremism] has become the
most powerful means of expelling Christians from their Arab motherland.
"This forcible expulsion is evidence of the narrow limits of
tolerance and acceptance of the other - [and the narrowness of these
limits] is clearly evident from the actual outcome. The fact that
Christian Arabs do not feel secure and protected [in Arab countries] is
a very grave problem, which must be dealt with immediately - because
[without a solution, emigration] will continue to exact a price that
must eventually have to be paid by everyone, without distinction,
including the Muslims themselves.
"But keeping silent in the face of the continuing emigration,
and ignoring the numbers [of Christians] abandoning [Arab countries] -
as if this concerned no one - is incomprehensible. The Arab world has
always been a meeting place for [different] civilizations, where
[different] religious [groups] coexisted and [different] cultures
"Today, in light of these worrying signs, we cannot keep
[turning a blind eye to] this phenomenon. [Christians] are leaving, not
by the dozens, and not even by the hundreds - but by the thousands. Nor
is this happening in secret; [indeed], it is happening openly and
"The reasons [for Christian emigration from the Arab countries]
are quite clear: They include fear, worry, and other [factors brought
about by] society's failures. This second wave of emigration is a huge
failure that should not be ignored - because it is the region that is
losing out the most."
 Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 2, 2008