Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Arab Christians: A lost modernity

by Tarek Osman from openDemocracy.net

Today, the role of Arab Christians is diminishing. A number of factors have combined since the 1970s to produce this outcome: the waning (if not defeat) of Arab nationalism and the meteoric rise of Islamism; the missionary spread of zealous Saudi Wahhabism, backed by unprecedented wealth; and the reorientation of millions of Egyptians and Levantines who traveled to the Gulf in pursuit of better work opportunities. The accumulating result was a change in the psyche of the Arab world: nationalism retreated, leaving significant ground to religion; national identity retreated and the religious advanced; the traditions that were imported from the west during the decades of modernization and enlightenment were gradually replaced by values centered around religion, spirituality and conservatism; political Islam became the force which young people started to identify with and advocate.

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