Minorities and the State in the Arab World

Minorities and the State in the Arab World

Minorities and the State in the Arab World

Minorities and the State in the Arab World

Synopsis

This text offers a comprehensive discussion of minorities and ethnic politics in eight Arab countries. Focusing on the strategic political chaos made by minorities, majorities and regimes in power, the authors point to probable future developments in majority-minority relations in the region.

Excerpt

One of the most bedeviling problems of modern Arab political life has been the place of minorities—national, ethnic, and religious—within the polity and society. the mere mention of the subject has long been taboo in many Arab states, because it clashed with the twin prevailing visions of the territorial state and pan-Arabism over the past half-century. Further adding to the difficulty has been the more recent entry into the Arab political discourse of notions of democratization, pluralism, and civil society, all of which have implications for state-minority relations and pose challenges to entrenched, authoritarian Arab regimes.

The concept of minorities is, of course, a fluid, conditional one. This collection treats minorities not necessarily in numerical terms but in terms of their political standing within the state, that is, their lack of political power. Thus, it addresses the Shi'is in Iraq and Bahrain and the Palestinians in Jordan, all of whom form the numerical majority of the population but do not hold the reins of power or equitably share in it. Also included are those minorities that are active politically and pose a challenge to the integrity of the state, for example, the Kurds of Iraq and the southern Sudanese; those whose political standing has changed over time, such as the Maronites in Lebanon and the Alawis in Syria; the Copts of Egypt, whose problem is perhaps less with the state and more with the society; and the anomaly of the Berbers in Algeria.

It is our pleasant duty to thank here those who enabled this project to come to fruition. First on the list are the contributors themselves, who stoically and patiently bore the brunt of our demands. the previous and current heads of the Moshe Dayan Center, Asher Susser and Martin Kramer, provided indispensable intellectual, financial, and moral support for the project from its inception.Lydia Gareh and Roslyn Loon stitched the manuscript together in their usual exemplary fashion.Amira Margalith, Ilana Greenberg . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.