"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Minorities in the Middle East

The plight of Christians in the Middle East remains very grim indeed. Most have been driven out or forced to flee while too many who have remained often end up being slaughtered, a plight that garners very little attention even in our hyper-connected 24-hour news cycles. Now a new book comes along to help us understand these Christians and others: Anh Nga Longva and Anne Sofie Roald, eds., Religious Minorities in the Middle East: Domination, Self-empowerment, Accommodation (Social, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East) (Brill, 2011), x+370pp.

About this book, the publisher tells us:
The relationship between religious majorities and minorities in the Middle East is often construed as one of domination versus powerlessness. While this may indeed be the case, to claim that this is only or always so is to give a simplified picture of a complex reality. Such a description lays emphasis on the challenges faced by the minorities, while overlooking their astonishing ability to mobilize internal and external resources to meet these challenges. Through the study of strategies of domination, resilience, and accommodation among both Muslim and non-Muslim minorities, this volume throws into relief the inherently dynamic character of a relationship which is increasingly influenced by global events and global connections.

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