This blog is written by Political Science Professor and former Parliamentarian Dr. Mona Makram-Ebeid
The effects of the restructuring of traditional state power engendered by globalization on the political, economic and security processes of different countries in the Arab World, particularly after the Arab spring uprisings, are still in the making.
The changes in each of the countries represent different paths leading toward a shared model of the “new” Arab state. Since the 19th century, religious life has witnessed changes of different kinds, but was unable to settle into a constant and sustainable model that could serve as the basis for a new religious order.
There is no doubt that disillusionment with government and religious authorities is helping fuel a re-examination of religious discourse. As citizens begin to read religious texts with critical intelligence they will see through the myths, the inconsistency with principles and the cultural prejudices and literary devices imposed by humans on interpretation of the text. A new understanding of religion is the pre-requisite of any social change.
Majority Muslim countries are today faced with a three sided “prison,” namely: an archaic Islamic past, a seductive Western future, and the problematic present.
Half an ounce of gold
In the seventh century, that is how much most of Eastern Christians had to pay for the privilege of living under the protection of the Caliphate. If they did not want to pay the Jizya (the levy) they could convert or “face the sword.” Today, in the 21st century, many Christians (mainly in Syria and Iraq) are given the same choice! But this time the offer comes from the Islamic State (ISIS also known as Daesh)! whose objective is to have a Christian- free Middle East.