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The role of religion in the middle east

Sie koennen uns helfen: Throughout history the effect of religion on politics has been of fundamental importance.

While religion is an important factor in the Middle East, it’s not the whole story.

From time to time religion, or politics under the influence of religion, has actually been a determining factor. It can be argued that the Middle East is probably the sole geographic region that is situated on the axis of politics-religion-war.

Even though the pax-areas, meaning the regions of pax-Romana and pax-Ottomana, influenced the region for centuries by bringing peace, it can still be argued that regional wars have been a determining factor.

  • The author is a political scientist and analyst works as a lecturer for politics and culture of the Middle East, intercultural communication and journalism at Fulda and Darmstadt Universities of Applied Sciences and Phillips University Marburg;
  • These conflicts all influence political processes;
  • In conclusion, I see religion in politics as a very important issue in the Middle East because it determines the current and future role of the region in the world community;
  • When seen from this larger perspective, differences among religions and sects have created a region where the satisfied and the dissatisfied reside together;
  • Now, if the national interest of the country is the protection of the Jewish people then obviously its political decisions will be obscured by religion;
  • Furthermore, religion in politics plays a crucial role in the current Middle East conflict.

Despite the fact that religion was the major factor in converting the region into a battlefield, religion was supported by other elements. The nature of conflict has been determined by the region's location at a crossroads, coupled with the existence of oil, and adding the religion factor. The dynamics of conflict also emerge from the overlap of the existing and the claimed borders of these groups. They are based not only on the differences among three major religions, but also on relationships among different groups within a single religion.

These conflicts all influence political processes. Religion-based conflicts in the Middle East need to be examined within the context of the interactions among three religions: Muslims and Jews, Muslims and Christians, and differences among Muslims. It is possible to group the differences between Muslims and Jews under several titles: The Jews in theory--and a few in reality--believe that Middle East lands, including those they are living on now, were given to them by Jehovah and need to be recovered from others.

  1. The religion and politics of the Middle East have special significance in view of the history and politics of the Middle East. After all, the three great monotheistic religions find their roots in the Middle East.
  2. These conflicts all influence political processes. Egypt has been suffering from this ideological polarization and competition to control ideological power sources and networks since the 1920s.
  3. The religion and politics of the Middle East have special significance in view of the history and politics of the Middle East.
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On the other hand, the Arabs also have no intention of sharing their land with the Jews. Despite ethnic kinship with the Arabs, Jews perceive them as second class partially due to religious beliefs and partially for cultural reasons and do not accept them as equals in interpersonal relations. Judaism is perceived as a religion that unites its people and God at the point of belief.

Any other religion that has emerged after Judaism is seen as heretical.

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The historical events that have occurred between Jews and Muslims also form grounds for conflict. The Koran contains anti-Semitic statements. From the Christian perspective, religions were born in the Middle East. Jesus and his apostles lived in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the region.

As a matter of fact, throughout history, primarily the Crusades but also other wars in the Middle East emerged due to religion. Christians who perceived the Muslims as usurpers took on a mission to free these lands from the unbelievers. However, the Christian population was never strong enough to control the region.

The true role of religion in the Middle East

Even in Lebanon where Christians held political power, they were defeated by demographic realities. The power conflict among Christians is highly important for the region.

The Nestorians, Syrian Orthodox, Catholics, Maronites and the newly active Protestants argue their priority and superiority in the region. In the case of Iraq, different ethnic groups such as Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syrian Orthodox can be seen as an opportunity for Christendom in the region; however, all these groups harbor distinctive causes conducive to conflict.

In the history of Islam, the importance of these locations is not only appreciated by the regional societies but by other Muslim countries as well.

  • The mendacious Islamic State, for instance, a Sunni element in Iraq and Syria, has killed more Sunni Muslims than it has any other group;
  • After all it is very much possible to adapt the technology and reject the social structure;
  • But in the end all these extreme groups are fighting over a small portion of land resulting from the Middle East conflict, which is the reason for their existence;
  • It aspires to engender greater understanding about the Middle East region and open a new common space for world thinkers and political leaders to present their viewpoints and initiatives on the region;
  • Christians who perceived the Muslims as usurpers took on a mission to free these lands from the unbelievers;
  • Muslims and Jews, Muslims and Christians, and differences among Muslims.

Due to oppressive totalitarian regimes that united with religion, these regions never had the opportunity to display their own religious identities. Currently they have been transformed by the emergence of a political and radical Islam under the influence of Wahabism. The ruling class in Saudi Arabia and in the Gulf has accepted Wahabism as the official ideology. In addition, there are distorted relations between the ruling class and the governed.

Islam and Arab NationalismThe Role of Religion in Middle Eastern Politics

When seen from this larger perspective, differences among religions and sects have created a region where the satisfied and the dissatisfied reside together. The Middle East, with its internal problems and conflicts among states, alongside the possession of economic wealth, is constantly open to provocations and conflict.

The conflicts in the region are closely tied to the existence of these groups in the Middle East, and this makes a durable peace difficult. In the Middle East war, like peace, is a process. Peace, like war, will be difficult and painful.

  • If leaders of Middle East nations truly wish to see their countries play a key role in globalism and secure a place in the world community, then they need to stop using religion for their personal gain;
  • Jews believe that they are the 'chosen people' by God's will and it is through this religious sentiment that their "communal identity" comes from Judaism itself 321.

It aspires to engender greater understanding about the Middle East region and open a new common space for world thinkers and political leaders to present their viewpoints and initiatives on the region. Editors Ghassan Khatib and Yossi Alpher can be reached at ghassan bitterlemons-international.