The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and survival strategies of Christian communities in Greater Syria

Author: Sotiris Roussos

Publication: Contemporary Levant

DOI: 10.1080/20581831.2021.1881719

Published online: 24 February 2021

The millet system compartmentalised religious communities into different sociopolitical environments under the overarching Ottoman imperial realm. However, during the nineteenth century, state transformation and crisis and the global re-allocation of political and economic power led to the exacerbation of ethnoreligious conflicts. Facing the collapse of the Ottoman imperium and the threat of extinction, the Greek Orthodox, Assyrian, Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox communities developed five survival strategies. The first was co-optation by state authorities; the second, protection of the Great Powers; the third armed resistance and the creation of autonomous enclaves; the fourth was that of exodus; and the last was to integrate themselves into Arab nationalism, lowering the banner of religion and becoming strong advocates of an Arab national identity encompassing Muslims and Christians alike. This paper aims to present a comparative approach to these strategies in the period from the beginning of the twentieth century to the formation of the Mandates.

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Christianity in the Middle East (CME) | Report no.1

The aim of the CME report is to present and address the main features related to Christians living in the Middle East in regard to religious plularism and peaceful coexistence. The region of focus includes Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Moreover, emphasis is attributed to the relationship between the state and its institutions with the Christian communities, as well as in pinpoiting the factors and effects related to the Christian exodus from the Middle East. The documentation of the report reflects the research openly available on the CME website and serves as a database for the living conditions of the Christians in the Middle East. The CME reports are an ongoing endeavour, aiming at providing continuous updates on the state of religious pluralism for the Christians of the Middle East. The findings presented, therefore, are not exhaustive, but highlight main trends and continuities.

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Arab Christians in the Holy Land

Author: Nicholas Frankovich

Publication Date: 13/6/2021

Source: Commonweal Magazine

A conversation with David Neuhaus, SJ

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Iran election set to intensify Christian persecution

Author: Andrew Boyd

Publication Date: 17/6/2021

Source: Christian Today

Iran goes to the polls on June 18 to elect its new president. The election has been described as fraudulent and rigged and is likely to be spurned in record numbers by Iranian voters, who consider the outcome a fait accompli.

Most of the candidates are hard-liners, which UK charity Release International warns will increase pressure on the persecuted Church, writes Andrew Boyd.

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A hard-line stance on Iran endangers Christians. There’s a better way.

Author: David Curry

Publication Date: 1/6/2021

Source: Religion News Service

The quickest way to know if Iran is serious about either nuclear compliance or religious freedom is to tie the two issues together.

During the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised to take a hard-line stance on Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions. This was a response to the Obama administration’s loosening of sanctions, seemingly rewarding Iran with a massive cash payment and a path to rejoining the world’s financial system in hope the rogue nation would respond with nuclear compliance.

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Pastor in Algeria Receives Suspended Sentence and Fine

Less than a week after a a court in Algeria ordered pastor Rachid Seighir’s church to close, a judge in handed him a one-year suspended sentence and a fine for “shaking the faith” of Muslims with Christian literature at his bookstore, sources said.

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The incredible courage of Christians in Iran

Publication Date: 11/6/2021

Source: Open Doors Phillipines

The coronavirus came early to Iran, and it hit hard: Hundreds of thousands of people were infected and, according to official numbers, more than 20,000 people have died.

But those official numbers are likely a massive undercount. The BBC was recently sent secret Iranian government data by an unknown source. That data shows there are actually more than 450,000 people infected with COVID-19 and more than 42,000 deaths. That only includes data up until July 20, so the actual numbers are likely even higher.

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Algeria Returns a Historic Church, But Stops Christian Worship at 20 Others

Author: Jayson Casper

Publication Date: 10/6/2021

Source: Christianity Today

Algerian Christians finally have something to celebrate.

Amid a rash of church closures the past two years, the North African nation’s Council of State returned a historic worship site in Mostaganem, a port city on the Mediterranean coast, to the Algerian Protestant Church (EPA).

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Morocco’s cardinal: Christians should be a ‘sacrament of encounter’ for Muslim neighbors

Publication Date: 4/6/2021

Source: Catholic News Agency

The archbishop of Rabat has launched a diocesan synod to encourage the small Catholic community in Morocco to more fully live out its mission of “encounter and dialogue.”

Cardinal Cristóbal López Romero told ACI Stampa, CNA’s Italian language news partner, that he believes Catholics in Morocco can do more to be “an outgoing Church” and live out Islamic-Christian dialogue in their daily lives in the 99% Sunni Muslim country.

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Algeria: Two years in prison for selling books

Publication Date: 01/06/2021

Source: Open Doors Youth

On 6th June, Pastor Rachid Seighir and Nouh Hamami will find out whether they will go to prison. Their crime? Selling books. The pair have been running a bookshop that contains books which are considered to ‘shake the faith of Muslims’. In Algeria, this comes with a heavy potential cost – and the two men are waiting to hear if their appeal against a two-year prison sentence has been successful.

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An Unwelcome Minority: Threats Facing Christians in the Middle East, Part 3

Publication Date: 28/5/2021

Source: Persecution - International Christian Concern

Looking to the Future

Uncertainty Moving Forward

The future is uncertain. The continued threat of conflict in places like Syria and Iraq, combined with the destruction of wide swaths of territory will make it highly unfavorable for the return of Christians to area. The Syrian conflict is, as of recently, largely over, but the destruction and suffering left in its wake is bound to continue for years, making many, including Christians, who have fled, unable or unwilling to return.

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