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Christians reached Basra (ancient Perat d Maishan), near the shores of the Persian Gulf by the beginning of the fourth century. According to the Chronicle of Seert, Bishop David of Perat d Maishan was present at the Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, around 325, and sailed as far as India. Gregory Bar Hebraeus, Chron. Eccles, 2.10 (v. 3, col. 28) indicates that David had earlier ordained one of the other bishops present at the Council. The monk Jonah is said to have established a monastery in the Persian Gulf "on the shores of the black island" in the middle of the fourth century. A Nestorian bishopric was established at Rev-ardashir, nearly opposite the island of Kharg, in Southern Persia, before the Council of Dadisho in AD 424. From the fifth century onward the area fell under the jurisdiction of the Assyrian Church of the East. Christian sites have been discovered dating from that time until after the advent of Islam in the region at Failaka, Kharg, Jubail/Jubayl and the nearby settlements of Thaj, al-Hinnah and Jabal Berri, and Sir Bani Yas. A suspected church at Marawah was later shown to be a Neolithic site. Bahrain (historical region) By the fifth century the Bet Qatraye was a major centre for Nestorian Christianity (which had come to dominate the southern shores of the Persian Gulf), with Samahij being the seat of bishops. It was a center of Nestorian Christianity until al-Bahrain adopted Islam in 629 AD. As a sect, the Nestorians were often persecuted as heretics by the Byzantine Empire, but Bahrain was outside the Empire s control offering some safety. The names of several of Muharraq Island’s villages today reflect this Christian legacy, with Al Dair meaning “the monastery” or "the parish." In 410, according to the Oriental Syriac Church synodal records, a bishop named Batai was excommunicated from the church in Bahrain. Failaka Remains of a church, dating to perhaps as early as the 5th or 6th century to judge by the crosses that form part of the stucco decoration, were found at Al-Qusur on the island of Failaka. Pottery at the site can be dated from as early as the first half of the 7th century through the 9th century. Akkaz In 1993 the Kuwaiti-French expedition found a church in Akkaz (in present Kuwait) dating to the early Abbasid era, the church was in the eastern church style and is symmetrical to that of Failaka. Kharg A number of tombs have been found decorated with distinctive Nestorian crosses. A monastery with a church and nearby homes for married priests have also been excavated. The floral designs in the plaster decoration of the church suggested to the excavator a date in the fifth or sixth centuries AD. Later studies would seem to date the decorations to the end of the sixth century AD. Jubail and nearby areas A church, consisting of a walled courtyard and three rooms on the east side was found in 1986. Cross designs were seen to have been impressed into the plaster flanking the doors of the structure. The reporter of the site did not indicate a clear date for it, but suggested that it must have been in existence for two centuries before the advent of Islam. Christian gravestones were also found at the site of Jubail. At Thaj, 90 km to the West, what appears to be a smaller church or chapel, built of reused stones and perhaps dating to the fifth or sixth century, has been discovered. 10 km NNE of Thaj at al-Hinnah there is evidence of a Christian cemetery of ancient but unknown date.a church was identified in the island of Abu Ali near Jubayl. Jabal Berri Not far to the South of Jubail, at Jabal Berri, three crosses have been found dating possibly to the period when Sassanian Persia had influence over the region. Sir Bani Yas At Sir Bani Yas, an island off the Western coast of the United Arab Emirates, an extensive monastic and eccelesiastical complex has been found similar to that at Kharg. The church building itself was about 14 m × 4.5 m. As with other sites in the region, plaster crosses were excavated. The excavator suggests a date in the sixth or seventh century for the construction of the church

You appear, as expected, to have had some ranting responses to your question. I can only imagine the outrage that would have been expressed had we, in England, suppressed, in equal terms, a celebration of cultural events by any ethnic group, be they Muslim or anything other. It would not be tenable by any political party, not even by the most extreme elements of the BNP. It would not be tolerated. Israel operates an unusual democracy. It is a democracy that denies votes to large numbers of people who are not registered because, despite the fact that they have lived in Israel for the whole of their lives, and have been accepted as citizens for the purposes of local and national taxation, are denied the right to register for their vote. It is a really odd democracy. The Israeli standpoint always seems, at its base, to depend on a history from very many hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. Some of your respondents seem to believe that Jerusalem is claimed as a holy place only by Jews. That is nonsense. Jerusalem is claimed as holy by Jews, Christians and Muslims. If we accept a religious belief as a reasonable precedent there is scarcely a place on the planet that cannot be claimed as "belonging" to someone other that the people who are, in fact, in control. Certainly, America must be returned to the native American Indians, who, throughout their development and history, maintained (and still do) a belief in the sanctity of the iner-relationship between themselves and "Mother Earth". This is, clearly, nonsense. It is, equally, a clear nonsense to claim any area of land (let alone a whole country) because "God" said so. My own "God" says I am entitled to the entire wealth of the western world, and to dispose of that wealth as I choose. Sorry, but that is just as defensible a position as any group of people, even if they are millions, has. Sorry, I ve been rambling. Despite that, I despair for the likes of people who, at the slightest suggestion (and justified in my view) of a criticism of Israel, cannot do other than react in such unneccesarily aggresive ways. Their reaction, withourt apparent consideration, suggests a level of inability to see a broader picture than that of their own incredibly narrow frame of reference. I find that quite sad. Apologies, again, for rambling. It is, after all, Sunday morning, and last night was good and I should be in bed, so "best wishes and goodnight".

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