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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Young Christians from all over Syria hopeful for the future: “I want to stay in my country!”

Publication Date: 14/11/2022

Source: Aid to the Church in Need

Before the war, Syria had a vibrant and stable Christian community, but 12 years of conflict and economic crisis forced many to flee. Those who remained have faced hardship and rising levels of poverty. In the first initiative of its kind, ACN has helped bring together dozens of young Christians who want to make sure they have a future in their country.

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Iranian Christians receive asylum in the Netherlands after being detained

Publication Date: 7/11/2022

Source: Christian Network Europe

A Christian family from Iran that spent five weeks in detention and was threatened with deportation to their home country has received asylum now anyways.

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Iran: Christian convert ​​​​​​​released from prison

Publication Date: 18/10/2022

Source: Middle East Concern

Iranian Christians are rejoicing that Naser Navard Goltapeh was released from Evin Prison on 17 October after being pardoned by the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamanei.

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Archbishop of Aleppo: Health crisis in war-torn Syria dramatic

Author: Lisa Zengarini

Publication Date: 10/11/2022

Source: Vatican News

As the eyes of the world and media continue to focus on the war in Ukraine and the subsequent energy and food crises, during his General Audience on Wednesday Pope Francis once again drew attention also to the many forgotten wars still wreaking death and destruction in many other parts of the globe. Among them, he mentioned the eleven-year conflict in Syria.

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Saint Odisho: fourth-century monastery still serves worshippers

Author: Kurmanj Nhili

Publication Date: 20/11/2022

Source: Kurdistan24

Saint Odisho Monastery, dating back to the fourth century, still stands tall serving Christians in the small village of Dere just four kilometers east of the historic town of Amedi in Duhok province.

To get there, one needs to take the road that turns around on the side of the mountain and runs along the cliffs, three km after getting through the Sulav gorge.

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Ancient Christian relics found in ruins of Bahrain mosque offer rare glimpse into history

Author: Ramola Talwar Badam

Publication Date: 21/11/2022

Source: The National

On an island in Bahrain, archaeologists and historians are at work uncovering relics that will tell the story of Christian homes in the kingdom before the spread of Islam. A team of Bahraini and British experts carefully sift through sandy stretches between thick stone walls of what may have been a monastery or a bishop’s home dating back to the sixth and eighth century.

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Treatment of Christians in Qatar challenged in run-up to World Cup

Author: Patrick Hudson

Publication Date: 15/11/2022

Source: The Tablet

Qatar’s treatment of Christians has deteriorated even as it prepares to host the FIFA World Cup, the charity Open Doors has said.

The charity for persecuted Christians worldwide warned that after recent improvements, it was now becoming harder to be a Christian in Qatar. The country has risen 11 places to 18th on the Open Doors World Watch List, its annual ranking of the states where Christians face the worst persecution.

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