The Brookings Doha Center hosted an event on May 23, 2016, which examined religious pluralism in the Middle East. Nicolas Pelham, a correspondent on Middle East Affairs for the Economist magazine, discussed his recent book, Holy Lands: Reviving Religious Pluralism in the Middle East. He was joined by Abdelwahab el-Affendi, head of the politics and… more
Sectarian divides—and their manipulation by those in power—are increasingly fueling conflict across the diverse countries of the Middle East, spilling over borders and contributing to ongoing violence in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere. Yet in the nineteenth century the region was considerably more tolerant than Western Europe at the time; a high degree of religious… more
"It’s hardly surprising, given the mayhem and misery across the Middle East, that people who know and care about the region are scratching their heads trying to explain, never mind solve, its overarching problems," Ian Black, The Guardian's Middle East editor, wrote in his recent review of Holy Lands: Reviving Pluralism in the Middle East. There… more
“We’re ridding the world of polytheism, and spreading monotheism across the planet,” an ISIS preacher recently said in a video recording. Behind him one could see the ISIS faithful using sledgehammers, bulldozers, and explosives to destroy the eighth-century-BC citadel of the Assyrian king Sargon II at Khorsabad, ten miles northwest of Mosul in northern Iraq, and the colossal statues of… more
When President Obama goes to Riyadh on Thursday, he should meet not just the Al Sauds, but the Saudis the rulers deem politic to hide under a bushel. If he does so, he will discover a country which defies the western stereotype of a bland killjoy state, and away from the religious police preserves as variegated… more
With ISIS dug in, the Israel-Palestine peace process in worse shape than ever, and the advances of the Arab Spring largely rolled back in almost every country in the region, it is hard to have hope for the Middle East. But in Holy Lands: Reviving Pluralism in the Middle East, Nicolas Pelham, Middle East correspondent for The Economist, presents an original… more
Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union, was for many years synonymous with excruciating hours of EU talks that drag on only to yield watered-down compromises wrapped in legalese...
In Holy Lands, longtime Middle East journalist Nicolas Pelham presents a strikingly original and startlingly optimistic look at the region. Sure, there's plenty of bad news and cruelty to report on, but Pelham also tells the story of those who are embracing diversity and trying to live side by side with all types of people, in the… more
Much has been written about ISIS, and much has been made about the group's bloodlust. The self-proclaimed Islamic State has a fondness for public massacres and beheadings, raped thousands of Yazidi women, looted museums, and destroyed historic sites. ISIS's celebrations of depravity, and the force and speed with which it has taken to its violence,… more
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