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The Arab Spring and the challenge of minority rights: will the Arab revolutions overcome the legacy of the past?

El Issawi, F (2011) 'The Arab Spring and the challenge of minority rights: will the Arab revolutions overcome the legacy of the past?' European View, 10 (2). pp. 249-258. ISSN 1781-6858

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The blood of Egyptian Copts on the streets of central Cairo on 9 October 2011 could be accurately described as the first major set-back for the Arab Spring. Preserving the rights of minorities as full citizens in the face of long-standing persecution and neglect is a pressing challenge for the Arab revolutions. However, the dilemma of the rights of Christian minorities within the Arab world is a historical one, deeply rooted in a complex interplay of social, economic and political factors predating the Arab Spring and its unpredicted implications. The growing signs of a radical Islam empowered by the loosening grip of Arab dictatorships raise concerns that go beyond the question of security and political representation for minorities. There is a bitter race between, on the one hand, secular forces weakened both by the absence of any previous organisational cadres and by the misuse of secularism by nationalist Arab regimes and, on the other, religious forces that are pushing forcefully for further overlap between religion and the state. As the results of the first free elections in Tunisia demonstrate the popularity of Islamism in the midst of entrenched secular countries, it is clear that the battle between the two trends is an unequal one.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arabs; Democracy; Transition; Islam; Secularism; Minorities; Christians
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2016 12:50
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:34

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