Event: International Workshop on Christianity in the Middle East | October 21, 2022

CME is organising an international workshop in Athens (Hill 3-5, 10558) on Friday, October 21, 2022, to promote an academic discussion on Christianity and Religious Pluralism in the modern Middle East. Experts on international politics and religion will address the various aspects of the current situation of Christians in the region.

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Christians in Syria and Iraq: From Co-optation to Militarisation Strategies

Author: Sotiris Roussos & Stavros Drakoularakos

Publication: Studies in World Christianity

DOI: 10.3366/swc.2022.0403

After the eruption of civil strife in Syria and Iraq, widespread violence and harassment, mainly by jihadist groups, came to substantiate fears for the extinction of the Christians. Various jihadist groups have perpetrated an ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians. The paper will examine another alternative to co-optation, a survival strategy that has developed among the Christians in Iraq and Syria, that of armed resistance and the organisation of militias. This militarisation trend reveals serious inner-communal disagreements. Caught among regional antagonisms and suspicious of the ascendent Sunni, Shia and Kurdish political aspirations and nationalisms, the idea of self-determination and self-government in an autonomous zone around Nineveh seems the best alternative to state co-optation. The paper will also look into the evolving relationship of the Christian communities with the state, the Muslim majorities, the other non-Muslim communities and the international community in a system of overlapping authority and multiple loyalty in the region.

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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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Christmas and New Year celebration in Iran

Publication Date: 1/1/2023

Source: Mehr News Agency

According to an ancient tradition, Christians around the world consider the beginning of the year to be January 1 in winter, just as we Iranians consider the beginning of the year to be the first day of Farvardin (March 21) in spring, and the Arabs consider the beginning of the year to be Muharram. It was in the 17th century that the 25th of December was proclaimed as Christmas or the birth of Jesus Christ, and almost all followers of Christianity celebrate this day as the birthday of Christ.

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Iranian Christians warned not to join uprisings as protests surpass 100 days

Author: Anugrah Kumar

Publication Date: 26/12/2022

Source: The Christian Post

Iran’s security agencies have warned Assyrian and Chaldean Christians against joining the ongoing uprisings in the Islamic Republic, which surpassed 100 days over the weekend and sparked by the killing of Mahsa Amini, a young woman arrested by the “morality police” for not properly wearing a hijab.

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Spokesman Congratulates Iranian Christians on Christmas

Publication Date: 26/12/2022

Source: Tasnim News Agency

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani congratulated the country’s Christian community on the occasion of Christmas and the new Gregorian calendar year.
In a post on his Twitter account on Sunday night, Kanaani expressed his felicitations over the auspicious birth anniversary of Jesus Christ (PBUH) to all Christians across the world, especially in Iran.

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Church statements the latest use of Iran’s Assyrian, Armenian Christians as regime propaganda

Publication Date: 2/12/2022

Source: Article 18

The Iranian regime continues to use the voices of its recognised Christian minority as part of its propaganda drive against the ongoing protests in the country.
The latest example is a set of public statements – evidently penned by the intelligence services but bearing the insignia of the main branches of the Armenian and Assyrian churches in Tehran – released over the past two weeks.

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Former Muslim of Iranian descent: Why Christians should care about Iran's protests

Author: Hedieh Mirahmadi

Publication Date: 1/12/2022

Source: The Christian Post

For the first time in history the World Cup took place in a Muslim country, Qatar. In front of billions of people watching worldwide, the Iranian players remained silent as their national anthem played in the stadium. It was a simple but dramatic show of solidarity with the protestors back home who have been fighting the regime since mid-September.

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Assyrian protesters a ‘cancerous tumour’ in Iran’s Christian community, says former MP

Publication Date: 23/11/2022

Source: Article 18

The former parliamentary representative of Iran’s Assyrian minority has launched a barely believable attack on Christians inside and outside the country who have either participated in or encouraged participation in the ongoing protests.

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Why ‘Persecuted’ Is Not the Best Way to Describe Christians in the Gulf

Author: Hrayr Jebejian|

Publication Date: 8/12/2022

Source: Christianity Today

In November, officials in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) made a surprise announcement. Discovered among the white-hot sand dunes of Siniyah Island were the ruins of a 1,400-year-old Christian monastery, likely predating the rise of Islam.

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