Minorities in the Middle East

A History of Struggle and Self-Expression, 2d ed.

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About the Book

The struggle for independence by minorities in the Middle East (those people who are non–Arab or non–Muslim) is affecting the political climate around the world. War and terrorism are threatening the safety of many minority communities and repression of minorities still remains standard state policy in some countries. This updated and revised edition of the 1991 original provides a wealth of historical and political detail for all the indigenous peoples of the Middle East. Pressed to persist in a threatening environment, these minorities (Kurds, Berbers, Baluchi, Druzes, ‘Alawites, Armenians, Assyrians, Maronites, Sudanese Christians, Jews, Egyptian Copts, and others) share similar experiences and have been known to cooperate for shared goals. Important events and new trends regarding the welfare of these groups are covered, and numerous oral histories add to the new edition.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Mordechai Nisan has written extensively on Zionism and the Arab-Israeli conflict. He teaches Middle East Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rothberg International School and lives in Jerusalem.

Bibliographic Details

Mordechai Nisan

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 351
Bibliographic Info: maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1375-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5133-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

INTRODUCTION: THE MIDDLE EASTERN MOSAIC
States and Nations     9
Minorities in the Middle East     13
The Debate About Minorities     21
Principles and Means of Conflict Resolution     23

PART 1: MUSLIM MINORITIES
Kurds: A Legacy of Struggle and Suffering     33
Berbers: Between Rebellion and Submission     54
Baluch: From Obscurity to Geostrategic Importance     76

PART II: HETERODOX MUSLIM MINORITIES
Druzes: Freedom Without Independence     93
‘Alawites: To Power and the Unknown     114

PART III: CHRISTIAN MINORITIES
Copts: From Majority People to Minority Religion     133
Armenians: Talent, Tragedy, and Territorial Loss     156
Assyrians: An Ancient People, a Perennial Struggle     180
Maronites: Sophistication and Missed Opportunities     195
Sudanese Christians: Tribulations and War in Black Africa     223

PART IV: JEWS, ISRAEL AND OTHER MIDDLE EASTERN MINORITIES
Jews: Zionist Achievement, Lingering Question     249
Jews, Israel, and the Minorities     272

CONCLUSIONS
The Elusiveness of Political Rule: A Comparison     298
Minority Mobilization and the Crusader Case     301
Minority Particularity and the Israeli Case     304
Peoples and State Across the Region     305
The Middle East and the World     307

Notes     311
Select Bibliography     337
Name Index     339

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “impressive fund of information”—Choice
  • “informative…the strength of the book lies in the breadth of its coverage…useful”—Library Journal
  • “one of the only volumes to consider a variety of groups, their relationships with each other, and their collective role in the region and beyond…an invaluable and timely resource”—Against the Grain
  • “a significant book…it is helpful, informative and balanced…helpful, timely and accessible book”—Catholic Library World
  • “invaluable”—Claremont Review of Books