The title of the symposium, held in cooperation with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, was "The Present and Future of Christians in the Middle East".
Over one hundred people attended the session that focused on the dislocation and violence by Muslims targeting Christians in the Middle East – a long-running phenomena that has increased since the Arab Spring.
The symposium exposed the predicament of Christian minorities in Iraq, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Pakistan, Lebanon and other countries in the area and the implications for the State of Israel. Raymond Ibrahim, a U.S.-based expert in Islam and the Middle East of Egyptian-Coptic descent and author of "The al-Qaida Reader", said that Christians are suffering unprecedented persecution in the Middle East. Ibrahim spoke of the harassment in Egypt against the Coptic Church which predates Islam, including forced conversions. He noted that in Iraq, for example, there is widespread dislocation based on religious identification against the Christian minority. He referred to the State of Israel as "the one Dhimmi that got away."
Juliana Taimoorazy - an Assyrian Christian and Founder and President of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council – noted that the gruesome attacks taking place against Christian minorities in Iraq and others countries in the Middle East must be brought to world attention. The U.S. government should press the Iraqi regime to prevent attacks against the Christian minority and to protect it, she said, and called on Jews and Christians to strengthen their ties in the face of this danger.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar from Bar Ilan University, an expert on Islam, noted that Moslem hatred towards Jews and Christians has grown in the light of the success of the West.
In an opening statement, B'nai B'rith World Center director Alan Schneider said that human rights organizations must not remain silent in the face of these reports of gross human rights violations against Christian communities in the Arab and Moslem world and should ensure that they reach the attention of the international community and world public opinion. Ecumenical Fraternity Director Rev. Dr. Petra Heldt also spoke at the event which was chaired by Dr. Mordechai Nisan of Hebrew University.
Juliana Taimoorazy - An Assyrian Christian born in Iran. Requested religious asylum at the American Embassy in Germany after fleeing Iran. In the United States she obtained her graduate degree in Instructional Design and worked as a reporter at a local station in Chicago for many years. In addition to owning her own businesses, creating employment opportunities for Iraqi Christian refugees, she has worked since she was 19 years old to elevate the Assyrian Christian cause in the United States.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar - BA in Arabic and Political Science (1982) and a PhD in Arabic (1998) both from Bar-Ilan University, Israel. His areas of research include: Islam, Islamic movements, gender issues in Islam, Arabic mass media, popular culture in the Arab world, and state and society in the Arab world.
Dr. Mordechai Nisan - born in Montreal, earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from McGill University. After moving to Israel, he taught Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, while lecturing as well at other academic institutions in the country. He has specialized and written books on Israel, Lebanon, Islam, minority peoples in the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.