Islamism and the Future of the Christians of the Middle East by Habib C. Malik

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Christianity may have “won the world,” in the sense of being the most widespread religion in history with the largest number of adherents, but it is steadily losing ground in and around its birthplace. Although Christians of the East are leaving their homelands in record numbers, the powers of the West have shown little interest in their fate. In this essay by the noted Lebanese scholar Habib Malik—himself a child of Christian Lebanon—Malik offers a sobering account of the ordeal of Christian Arabs of the Middle East in this era of Islamist radicalism.

Malik explains why the number of native Christians in the Middle East—now between ten and twelve million—continues to dwindle, one of the most prominent reasons being the rise of Islamic extremism, or Islamism, in both its Sunni and its Shiite varieties. Despite weaving a bleak tapestry, he offers hopeful suggestions on how to achieve a healthy pluralism between Muslims and Christians in the region.

Habib C. Malik is a professor of history and cultural studies at the Lebanese American University (Byblos campus) and a founding member of the Foundation for Human and Humanitarian Rights.


About Habib C. Malik

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Habib C. Malik was born in January 1954 in Washington, D.C., the son of Lebanese philosopher and diplomat Charles Malik.  His early schooling took place in both the United States and Lebanon.  He graduated in 1977 with a BA in history from the American University of Beirut after doing his senior year at Princeton University.  He received his master’s and PhD in modern European intellectual history from Harvard University in 1979 and 1985, respectively.  He is currently an associate professor of history and cultural studies at the Lebanese American University (Byblos campus).  He divides his interests between the history of Western thought and the issues and problems of his ancestral home, Lebanon, and the Middle East at large—in particular the plight of native Christian communities, the future of freedom and democracy in Arab societies, and the challenges posed by Islamization.  He is the author of Between Damascus and Jerusalem: Lebanon and Middle East Peace: Receiving Soren Kierkegaard: The Early Impact and Transmission of His Thought and editor of The Challenge of Human Rights: Charles Malik and the Universal Declaration, along with many articles, essays, and book chapters in both Arabic and English on pluralism, Arab Christians, human rights, Political Islam, and the Arab reception of Kierkegaard.  He lives in Lebanon just outside Beirut and is married to Hiba Costa; they have three children.
Published April 26, 2010 by Hoover Institution Press. 97 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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