Will President Trump be a Savior for Middle Eastern Christians?

When it started raining during President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, Reverend Franklin Graham interpreted it as a sign of God’s blessing. A few hours earlier, Trump had heard from Pastor Robert Jeffress that “it is God who removes and establishes leaders”.

Trump is not an obvious candidate to represent the Jesus-like, enemy-loving, turn-the-other-cheek, self-sacrificial servant-leader of the Christian gospels. But he has made it clear that he understands his role as a defender and protector of Christianity: from statements such as “we are going to say Merry Christmas again!” to his pledge that “We will respect and defend Christian Americans. Christian Americans.”

His rhetoric tailors to a persecution complex prevalent in some evangelical and other conservative circles. “We are going to protect Christianity,” Trump asserts, “Christianity, it’s under siege.” As one commentator put it, “There is a sickness in American Christianity, and Trump is feeding on it.”

It is precisely such statements that have made Trump the darling of some Middle Eastern Christians in the midst of what they perceive to be a systematic onslaught on the Christian presence in the region.

According to Najwa Najib, (a London-born, Chicago-based Lebanese-Assyrian Christian), Trump is good for, and has the support of, Middle Eastern Christians because “‘Protects Christians’ is the main, though rudimentary, deciding factor there, given how few options we have and how great the risk to our continued presence in the Middle East is.”

In a piece she wrote that was cross-published by Richard Spencer on Jihad Watch, Najib claims that “American presidential candidates aren’t good for Middle Eastern Christians. That is, they weren’t, before Trump … Middle Eastern Christians have a voice now. We fit.”

Friends of Donald J Trump in Lebanon‘s facebook page proudly posted Trump’s tweet on January 29: “Christians in the Middle East have been executed in large numbers. We cannot allow this horror to continue!” – prompting one user to comment, “it’s as if Muslims in the region are living in tranquility!”

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Al Jazeera