Human Rights

Themes, Questions, and Independent Research
Summarize the main themes of the readings to which you have been assigned. Are the readings similar or different in the way that they explain the human rights of minority groups in the Middle East? Do you find the approach that the readings adapt to this issue convincing or not? Explain.
Castellino and Cavanaugh are emotionless and critical
The authors take a critical stance, Monshipouri and Castellino & Cavanaugh have similar perspectives

Choose two minority groups identified in the readings. Then,
(1)  Summarize the status of these groups as explained in the readings.
(2)  Undertake relevant research on the World Wide Web. In light of your research, provide a concise summary of the current situation of these groups.
(3)  Please make sure to share your sources with the class in both your oral and written reports.

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Introduction requirement –
Are the readings similar or different in the way that they explain the human rights of minority groups in the Middle East? Do you find the approach that the readings adapt to this issue convincing or not? Explain.

Monshipouri, Part II, Chapter 8 
Main Themes:
The study of minorities in the Middle East is directly linked to the root causes of marginalization
In cases of the Copts in Egypt and the Kurds in Turkey, it appears an integrationist approach toward socioeconomic and cultural inclusion and recognition of the rights of minorities has proven a positive step toward the reasonable resolution of the problems.
It should be noted that the framing of these minor issues in terms of threats to national security and political stability—not in terms of cultural and political inclusion—has prolonged the plight of these groups at both local and regional levels. Desecuritization of the minority threats, as well as appropriate external pressure (the EU in the case of Turkey), have enabled national policymakers to pursue reformist agenda while engaging the minority groups and their legitimate demands.
The main lesson to draw is that in virtually all societies it is vitally important to end marginalization if a peaceful coexistence among people of different ethnic, religious, sectarian, and racial backgrounds is to be achieved.
The key to shoring up minorities’ desire to remain loyal to a nation-state in which they live—rather than leaning toward building up new forms of political community—is to frontally address the issue of marginality.
Today, in some countries (Lebanon, Jordan, or the Islamic Republic of Iran) nonMuslim and other minority groups are guaranteed a fixed share of seats in representative political bodies.
Minority group # 1
The Kurds in Turkey
They are Indo- European people who are estimated to be around 25–30 million and live in a mountainous area along the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey.
They are a large and distinct ethnic minority who are mainly Sunni Muslim tribal people with their own language and customs.
They’ve failed multiple times at achieving independence.
In the twentieth century alone, Kurdish rebellions in Turkey in 1925, 1930, 1937, and 1984 only resulted in additional defeats, death, and destruction.
Resistance against Iraq during the Iran- Iraq War made Saddam Hussein angry who launched poison gas attacks on a Kurdish village causing the death of several thousand people. In the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Iraq’s Kurds revolted against Saddam Hussein but were crushed by the Iraqi army, forcing many of hundreds of thousands of them to flee to Turkey.
In 1984, the conflict between the Kurdish desire to form cultural and political autonomy and the Turkish state efforts to prevent that autonomy was very intense which launched a widespread Kurdish uprising that was met by Turkish military repression.
Since the early 1990s, Turkish people and officials began to recognize the cultural rights of the Kurds, legalizing the use of the Kurdish language in the process. These changes in law and mainstream views on the Kurdish issue have pointed to a desecuritization process transpiring in Turkey.
Starting in 2005, Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan encouraged several steps to ease bans on Kurdish broadcasting and educational systems. As a result, vast sums of money were poured into Kurdish regions to subsidize education for the poor, especially for girls.
Minority Group # 2
The Copts in Egypt
The Copts were a majority in Egypt from the fourth to the seventh centuries.
Copts represent approximately 8 % of the Egyptian population, around 95% of them are Christian.
The Copts suffered persecution in Egypt after Chalcedon by Christians—under Byzantine control—until the Islamic- Arab conquest of Egypt
After that, they found themselves coexisting with their Muslim rulers, sometimes under an uneasy but peaceful armistice, and at others under attack.
The Copts’ dhimmi status was abrogated by Said Pasha in 1856. Copts were exempted from paying the jizya, the head tax paid by non- Muslims in Egypt from the Muslim conquests until 1855.
In the twentieth century, especially during the 1940s and 1950s, the proportion of Copts in official posts exceeded their proportion of the population. Copts were among Egypt’s large landowners, and many were leading members of the Wafd—Egypt’s most popular political party before a military coup in 1952 toppled the monarchy. Copts have also figured prominently in the evolution of Egyptian and Arab arts, theater, and scholarship.
In the 2011 revolt against then-president Hosni Mubarak, many Copts took an active role in pro-democracy demonstrations, contributing to the downfall of Mubarak’s regime.
The Copts are economically advantaged and have engaged in commerce, medicine, law, and accountancy. They tend to be better educated than Muslims. Rarely are any Copts appointed to posts in the judicial system, police ranks, or army. Copts are underrepresented in the police, security forces, armed forces, and much of the civil service
The government strictly enforces an 1856 law that renders it illegal to build or repair a church without presidential approval. In 1998, President Hosni Mubarak delegated authority to provincial governors to approve such permits and it has become a much easier process since then
Coptic activists have articulated several demands in recent years.
More representation in the political system
Greater equality in promotions in academia, the public sector, and the state bureaucracy—especially the police and the military
Removal of religious identification from a government.
Easier licensing procedures for church construction.
In the aftermath of the 2011 revolution, Copts are likely to add yet another demand to this list: to participate equally alongside their Muslim compatriots in decisions on how to govern society
Caught between the atmosphere of violence and integration, the Egyptian Christian Copts have in recent years, navigated between apathy and engagement. But after the 2011 Revolution, many Copts seek new possibilities and opportunities. For more information on Human Rights check on this:

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