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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How is Covid-19 affecting Christians in Syria?

Publication Date: 3/9/2021

Source: Open Doors Phillipines

The impact of Covid-19 and lockdown has particularly affected the church in Syria and Iraq. After a decade of conflict and persecution, as well as ongoing poverty, Christians in the Middle East are now disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. Though the official figures suggest that Syria has seen a relatively small number of cases and fatalities, this number is likely to be much higher than has been reported.

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Not Russia’s fault that settlement process in Syria slackening

Publication Date: 30/8/2021

Source: TASS News Agency

According to Sergey Lavrov, Russia has helped Syria to preserve its statehood and to preserve Christianity in Syria

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Fuel dispute triggers sectarian clash in Lebanon's south

Author: Maha El Dahan; Editing by Tom Perry and Nick Macfie

Publication Date: 30/8/2021

Source: Reuters

A dispute over scarce fuel supplies ignited sectarian tensions between neighbouring Shi'ite Muslim and Christian villages in southern Lebanon over the weekend, forcing the army to intervene, a security source said.

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Christian residents of two northern Israeli ghost towns renew bid to go home

Author: Botrus Mansour

Publication Date: 31/8/2021

Source: Religion News Service (RNS)

With a new coalition government in power in Israel, descendants of the residents of Iqrit and Biram have hopes of rebuilding the towns.

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France’s Macron visits Iraq’s Mosul destroyed by IS war

Author: Hadi Mizban and Qassim Abdul-Zahra

Publication Date: 29/8/2021

Source: Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday visited Iraq’s northern city of Mosul, which suffered widespread destruction during the war to defeat the Islamic State group in 2017. He vowed to fight alongside regional governments against terrorism. Macron said IS carried out deadly attacks throughout the world from its self-declared caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq. He said IS did not differentiate between people’s religion and nationality when it came to killing, noting that the extremists killed many Muslims.

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The movement of Muqtada al Sadr relaunches the campaign to return houses and land illegally stolen from Christians and Mandeans

Publication Date: 26/8/2021

Source: Agenzia Fides

Thanks to the campaign of the Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr, more than eighty properties - land and houses - have been returned to their rightful owners, including mostly Christians, citizens and Mandaeans after they have been victims of arbitrary and unlawful appropriation of their property by individuals or in recent years organized groups. Hakim al Zamili, a leading member of the "Sadrists" (supporter of the political group led by Muqtada al Sadr), who also previously chaired the Iraqi Parliamentary Committee on Security and Defense, reported on the results achieved so far thanks to the iniziative inspired by Muqtada al Sadr.

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Iraqi Christians see little prospect of returning to former homes

Author: Mina Aldroubi

Publication Date: 16/8/2021

Source: National News

Iraqi Christians say they despair about ever returning to the homes they fled after the rise of ISIS, despite government assurances about their safety.

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PM Kadhimi calls on Christians to return to Iraq

Author: Dilan Sirwan

Publication Date: 14/8/2021

Source: Rudaw

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Saturday called on displaced Christians to return to Iraq, and while Christian religious figures consider it as an “honest and sincere” gesture, some have told Rudaw that Christians need more to be able to return home.

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One of Iraq’s oldest Christian communities struggles with religious diversity

Author: Rebecca Collard

Publication Date: 12/8/2021

Source: The World

At a church in the northern Iraqi town of Bartella, young, Iraqi Christians prepare for their First Communion. Their teacher is speaking Aramaic, the same, ancient Semitic language believed to have been spoken by Jesus. Bartella is one of the world’s oldest Christian communities — but Christians here are now a minority. 

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