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Multiculturalism and Minority Rights in the Arab World$
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Will Kymlicka and Eva Pföstl

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675135

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675135.001.0001

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Transformations in the Middle East: The Importance of the Minority Question

Transformations in the Middle East: The Importance of the Minority Question

Chapter:
(p.53) 3 Transformations in the Middle East: The Importance of the Minority Question
Source:
Multiculturalism and Minority Rights in the Arab World
Author(s):

Joshua Castellino

Kathleen Cavanaugh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675135.003.0003

This chapter engages the troubled legacy of the dhimmi and the millet system and its role in shaping identities in the Middle East. Whereas some commentators argue that the millet legacy has delegitimized minority claims, this chapter emphasizes instead the potentially positive contributions that the legacy of the millet system can offer. It argues that the millet legacy has important lessons not only for protecting minorities, but also for building a more inclusive national identity, and more representative public institutions. It also argues that, despite the long history of pernicious international manipulation of minority politics in the region, international minority and human rights norms, suitably interpreted, can play a constructive role in building the positive dialectic of nation-building and minority rights.

Keywords:   millet/dhimmi, identity, Middle East, nation-building

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