That’s why many Arab Christians have disengaged from their Middle Eastern roots, Mr. Abi Haydar explained. While many Muslim communities keep their identities, many Christians “melt into American society.”
“The Christians don’t want to be around Muslims,” Mr. Abi Haydar said. “They just want to stay away from them.”
Miss Fakhri admits it would be difficult to settle down in Dearborn, because the Muslims customs are so different from her own and she would feel “weird living there.”
“I think it’s very hard for a Christian to live there in a Muslim community,” she said. “I would feel uncomfortable to live there. You feel like the whole community is total different.”
But Mr. Abi Haydar laments over the divide between Arab Christians and Muslims. While many of these Christians have moved to the northern suburbs, his church continues to be based in Dearborn, so they can reach out to their fellow Arabs.
“I find it very unfortunate, because Christians are failing to be a light to that community,” he said.
At Heritage Baptist Church in Sterling Heights, Mich., they are trying to defying these labels. The congregation shares its building with the Arabic Brethren Assembly Church, and they occasionally enjoy meals together.
“These are wonderful Christian brothers,” said Kevin McGuire, an assistant pastor at the Baptist church. “They worship the same Christ we do. We count them as part of the family of God.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Tim Devaney is a national reporter who covers business and international trade for The Washington Times. Previously, he worked for the Detroit News, Grand Rapids Press, Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News. Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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