This book brings a crucial perspective to the examination of religion and politics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by focusing on the roles that Christian communities play in this region. Acknowledging and exploring their political activity represents a much-needed contribution to the MENA literature, which overwhelmingly focuses on Islam.
Through a collection of country case studies utilizing a variety of analytic methods, the contributors to this collection demonstrate how various Christian groups act as rational, strategic political actors seeking to protect and promote the interests of their organizations and members. The cases explored here elaborate upon how Christians in the MENA region navigate their minority status and respond to local ideas of citizenship that often relegate them to second-class status. The chapters also examine how MENA Churches draw on transnational networks to augment their local political influence. This volume is an important work for understanding contemporary politics in the MENA region, and advances the study of religion’s role in politics more generally.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal Religion, State and Society.
Table of Contents
1. Conflict, politics, and the Christian East: towards a theoretical typology
George Soroka and Christopher Rhodes
2. (Un)locking the church doors: regime legitimacy and political (de)mobilisation of churches in Ethiopia
3. The church and the street: Copts and interest representation from Mubarak to Sisi
Paul S. Rowe
4. The Chaldean patriarch and the discourse of ‘inclusive citizenship’: restructuring the political representation of Christians in Iraq since 2003
5. Defensive minoritarianism: support for democracy among Lebanese Christians
Michael Hoffman and Hannah E. Bagdanov
6. Orthodox Christianity in Turkey and the limits of ecumenical transnationalism
Umut Koldaş, Mustafa Çıraklı, and Ali Dayıoğlu
Christopher Rhodes is Lecturer in Social Sciences at Boston University. His areas of research are the political economy of religion, identity and politics, and the politics of sub-Saharan Africa.
George Soroka is Lecturer on Government and Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on the politics of religion, mnemonic politics, and regime change.