Is Plurality and Tolerance a Reality in the Middle East?
The countries of the Middle East or the Arab World are enormously diverse and within that diversity is a wide range of cultural experience and traditions. These varieties include dimensions of identity, ecological diversity, regional and local ethnic diversity, religion, family, and class. The paper will touch on these diversities where the Middle East includes the Arab world and non-Arab states. The paper will indicate that although majority Muslims adheres to Sunni form of Islam, Shiites are majority in some countries. The paper will discuss other religious minorities. It will argue that Middle Eastern societies are more religious today than 30-40 years ago and that the Middle East is no longer a place of religious tolerance it once was. The paper will point out that some of the oldest communities in the Middle East are disappearing. It will notice that when a more conservative interpretation of Islam becomes widespread and exclusive, minorities are pushed out. The paper will conclude that the Middle East is no longer a place of tolerance but of hate and destruction, for variety of reason.
Keywords - The Middle East. Diversity. Religion. Ethnicity. Tolerance.