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Minorities in the Middle East

Minorities in the Middle East
Muslim Minorities in Arab Countries 1843–1973
4 Volume Hardback Set

$1,860.00 (R)

Cambridge Archive Editions
  • Date Published: December 2006
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Multiple copy pack
  • isbn: 9781840971804

$1,860.00 (R)
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  • These four volumes, concerning Muslim minority communities from 1843 to 1973, consist of contemporary political despatches, correspondence and reports composed by British diplomats, some of whom were resident in the country under debate. The papers are written very clearly from a British perspective but this authoritative voice of government allows us an insight into high politics at a time when the British were inextricably involved in the government of the Middle East. The kind of information and insight that the documents provide is aptly illustrated in the extracts below but what is also evident, from even a quick reading, is the extent to which the position and treatment of minority cultures is a central consideration in achieving peace and good governance. Perhaps inevitably the material concerning minorities is partial and unsatisfactory in some ways; but taken together these volumes provide a continuity of evidence for how little has changed from historical to modern times.

    • Examines the situation within different Arab states over a period of 130 years
    • Considers the tensions within the region between different minorities and also the impact of British and French actions in the region
    • Also considers the status of Palestinians remaining within Israel from after 1948
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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2006
    • Format: Multiple copy pack
    • Isbn: 9781840971804
    • Length: 2400 pages
    • Dimensions: 322 x 241 x 266 mm
    • Weight: 5.5kg
    • Availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
    • Paper: Printed on acid free paper
    • Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
    • Resume

      These four volumes, concerning Muslim minority communities from 1843 to 1973, consist of contemporary political despatches, correspondence and reports composed by British diplomats, some of whom were resident in the country under debate. The papers are written very clearly from a British perspective but this authoritive voice of government allows us an insight into high politics at a time when the British were inextricably involved in the government of the Middle East. The kind of information and insight that the documents provide is aptly illustrated in the extracts below but what is also evident, from even a quick reading, is the extent to which the position and treatment of minority cultures is a central consideration in achieving peace and good governance. Perhaps inevitably the material concerning minorities is partial and unsatisfactory in some ways; but taken together these volumes provide a continuity of evidence for how little has changed from historical to modern times.

    • Historical Overview

      Although the historical record covering the situations of diverse Muslim minorities within host Islamic countries is at best intermittent, the evidence found in these volumes provides a series of glimpses of conditions within different Arab states, over more than a century, and also addresses, to some extent, the status of the Palestinians remaining within Israel after 1948. The documents include evidence, from 1843 onwards, of tensions between settled and Bedouin tribes under Ottoman administration in Syria and Lebanon. From 1920 onwards the record is more varied, including: the effects of French actions in post-Ottoman Syria in the 1920s, with particular reference to British Indian Muslim subjects; the Shiah movement in Iraq from 1927, including tensions between the Baha'is and Shiahs during the 1920s and early 1930s; the disputes of the Yezidis and Muslims during the 1940s;  minorities of the Levant in the 1940s, including the arrest of the Alawite leader, Suleiman Murshid, in 1944; the plight of the Palestinian refugees displaced by the hostilities following the end of the British mandate in 1948; and the status of the Shiah Iranians in Bahrain in the 1960s.

    • Documentary Importance

      In the extracts featured below, drawn from volume one of the work, we see the historical parallels quite clearly: a relatively secular Syria being stirred into religious intolerance; Palestine a mere cipher in an international political arena; and here too is Iraq whose Sunni and Shiah population must be considered equally lest preferential treatment of one group should lead the other into open revolt.

      Extract from : Confidential despatch from Mr Kirby Green, British Consulate, Damascus, to the Earl of Granville, Foreign Secretary, 17 September 1873.
      …I made direct allusion to the existence of a feeling among the Mohammedans of Syria of the approaching opportuneness of reasserting Moslem ascendancy. This feeling, however, I do not think can be attributed to an increase of religious fervour partaking anything of the nature of a revival. The vast majority of Mohammedans here appear to me to consider it sufficient to belong to the Moslem faith without feeling it necessary to follow strictly its precepts, and practise with impartiality all western as well as Eastern views… however… occurrences and rumours, coupled with frequent articles in the native Press inciting Mohammedans not to stand idle and allow Christian interlopers to appropriate benefits and advantages of right belonging to Moslems, have raised a feeling of antagonism between the two creeds in Syria which has not been apparent for many years past…

      Extract from : Despatch from Sir R. Storrs, British Agency, Cairo, to Foreign Office, 28 December 1914.
      …We are all heartily relieved to have got the new Sultan on his throne without any untoward incident…With regard to Palestine, I suppose that while we naturally do not want to burden ourselves with fresh responsibilities such as would be imposed upon us by annexation, we are, I take it, averse to the prospect of a Russian advance Southwards into Syria, or of too great extension of the inevitable French Protectorate over the Lebanon, etc. … A buffer State is most desirable, but can we set one up? There are no visible indigenous elements out of which a Moslem Kingdom of Palestine can be constructed. The Jewish State is in theory an attractive idea; but the Jews, though they constitute a majority in Jerusalem itself, are very much in a minority in Palestine generally, and form indeed a bare sixth of the whole population. Again would not Islam be extremely indignant at the idea of handing over our conquests to a people which has taken no part as a nation in the war…

      Secret minute from Chief Staff Officer to ""C"" Branch, 6 May 1927.
      In the event of any troubles created by the Shi'ahs, such troubles … will probably be directed, primarily, against the Iraq Government and its officials. There appears no reason, at present, to suppose that they will be directed against the British Government as such.

      Disturbances in towns are most likely to occur in places such as Baghdad, Basrah or Mosul, where neither the Shi'ah nor the Sunni element entirely predominates. … Unrest amongst the Shi'ah tribes in the country is unlikely to turn to open revolt until some incident has occurred to alarm or irritate them. Such an incident might be created by an attempt to enforce an unpopular measure…

    • Key Documents

      Albania & Kosovo: Political & Ethnic Boundaries 1867-1946
      Armenia: Political And Ethnic Boundaries 1878–1948
      Ethnic Minorities In The Balkan States 1860–1971
      Minorities in the Middle East: Druze Communities 1840–1974
      Minorities in the Middle East: Jewish Communities in Arab Countries 1841–1974
      Minorities in the Middle East: Kurdish Communities 1918–1974
      Minorities in the Middle East: Religious Communities in Jerusalem 1843–1974
      Palestine and Transjordan Administration Reports 1918–1948
      Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1957
      Records of the Hajj: The Pilgrimage to Mecca

  • Table of Contents

    Volume 1:
    1. Muslim communities under Ottoman administration, 1843–1911
    2. General considerations in the former Ottoman territories: 'Decentralization' - the concept of the substitution of direct Turkish administration with limited Arab self-government - and the future of Palestine, 1913–1914
    3. Mesopotamia: disturbances at Kerbala and Nejef [Arab Bulletin Reports, 1916]
    4. 'Indian Moslems and the Hejaz' [Arab Bulletin Report, 1916]
    5. Considerations of the consequences of turning Turkey out of Europe, 1920: the views of the Aga Khan
    6. Sectarian questions in Syria: effect of French actions, 1925–1927
    7. Reviews of the Shiah movement in Iraq, 1927–1930 [a series of Special Service Office reports]. Volume 2:
    1. The claims of the Baha'is in Iraq, 1927–1928
    2. Issues regarding the Committee of Moslems appointed to review the powers and constitution of the Supreme Moslem Council in Palestine, 1928
    3. The status of the Baha'i community in Palestine, and the progress of the Baha'is' case in Iraq, 1929
    4. The progress of the Baha'is' case in Iraq, 1930
    5. The progress of the Baha'is' case in Iraq, 1931
    6. Reactions to the findings of the Wailing Wall Commission, Jerusalem, June 1931
    7. The progress of the Baha'is' case in Iraq, 1932
    8. The claims of British Muslim subjects in Iraq against the Iraqi authorities and by the Iraqi authorities against British Muslim subjects, and the spread of anti-British propaganda to returning Indian workers, 1938
    The claim of Das Raj Manu Harlal against the police in Samawah
    The spread of anti-British propaganda to Indian workers
    The claim against Sardar Ara Begum Muhamad Ali Khan al Nawab
    The claim of Mr Shirazi against the Iraqi police
    The repatriation of Mr Nizamuddin Ahmed's daughter to India
    The whereabouts of Ghulam Rasul of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company
    The petition of Kanij Fatima of New Delhi. Volume 3:
    1. Zain-ul-Abidin Rahnama's scheme for a Shiah pro-democracy organisation, 1941
    2. The claims of the son of Shaikh Khazal to his confiscated properties in Iran, 1942
    3. The disputes and claims of Muslims and Yezidis in Northern Iraq, 1942–1944
    4. The Mohafazat of the Alawites, 1943: background information
    5. 'Minorities in the Arab World', 1943
    6. The arrest of Suleiman Murshid, Alawite leader, in Damascus, 1944
    7. The situation of Palestinian Arab refugees, displaced by the hostilities following the termination of the British Mandate, 1948–1949. Volume 4:
    1. The situation of Palestinian Arab refugees: international relief efforts, 1950–1973
    Arab–Israeli relations within Israel, 1957
    2. The status of Pakistanis and Indians in Spanish Morocco, 1951
    3. The visit of the Shiah Iranian prophet, Abul Qassim Khan, to Baghdad, 1952
    4. 'Moslem Lebanon Today', 1953
    'Crosses and Crescents: Confessionalism in Lebanon', 1973
    5. The situation of the Shiahs in Bahrain, 1954–1968: a series of papers regarding Sunni–Shiah relations
    6. The response to the arrest and trial of members of the Baha'i faith in Morocco, 1962–1963
    'The Baha'is': background brief, 1980
    7. The position of the Alawites and Druzes in Syria, 1966
    8. 'The Expatriate Arab and Iranian Communities in Kuwait', 1967.

  • Editor

    B. Destani

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