It is in the interplay between the ‘might’ of God (a substantial proportion of religiously conservative men and women) and Caesar (the military) that many indigenous Christian communities need to negotiate amid the complexities of the Middle East and North Africa today, says Harry Hagopian. In which direction should they seek a path to security?
We are likely to understand situations like the recent cairo protests more readily by examining the social and political pressures involved for both the protesters and the security forces, says Michael Marten - rather than seeking to make broad statements equating Christian and Muslim beliefs and practices.
The assumption that there is some essential distinction between 'religious' and 'non-religious' domains – which is still today a globalising discourse – is an ideological construct which takes on an appearance of naturalness and inevitability, says Timothy Fitzgerald. When such generalised assumptions are taken into the field of international relations they cause further difficulties.
Religious state and non-state authorities have entered into a discussion about the legitimacy of political resistance, says Malika Zeghal. Al-Azhar, through the presence of some of its members in Tahrir Square, has shown its relevance to the recent political mobilization and has asserted its role in shaping a narrative of hope against tyranny.
While the Middle East uprisings have not revolved around religion, faith has not been absent from Arab scenes of protest in the last two months, says Shatha Almutawa. God and scripture are invoked by revolutionaries and those who oppose them for the simple reason that Arab dialects and ways of life are infused with religion.