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 churches play in politics in this region. The overwhelming academic focus on Islam, the predominant religious tradition in the region, has led to a lack of acknowledgement of the role that Christian churches and communities play in MENA politics.
The chapters in this edited volume explore how the Churches of the Middle East operate as engaged political actors. Through a collection of country case studies utilizing a variety of analytic methods, the contributors to this collection demonstrate how Christian communities 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 statuses as minorities and respond to local ideas of citizenship that often relegated 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 the works presented advance the study of the roles of religion in politics more generally.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal Religion, State and Society.