Documentaries

Religious Minorities in the Middle East (UPDATED)
The Arab Awakening has led to a rise in Islamist governments in the Middle East – increasing concerns about the rights of religious minorities.

The Middle East is largely Muslim but it’s also the birthplace of Christianity, Judaism, and many other religions. Many non-Muslims have left in recent decades, leaving relatively small populations of non-Muslims and Muslim minority sects.

Now, the rise of Islamist political parties in the Mideast raises questions about the rights and protections such minorities can expect or whether they can expect them at all.

Reporter Kimberly Adams takes us to Cairo, where Christians, Baha'is, and other religious minorities face an uncertain future under Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party.
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Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and most top government officials are Alawis, a Shi’a-affiliated religious group that represents only 12% of the country’s populace. Katherine Lanpher talks with Jocelyne Cesari of Harvard University about Alawi beliefs and their role in Syrian society and politics.
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As one of the earliest Jewish settlements in the world, Tunisia was home to over 100,000 Jews in the mid-20th century. Today that number is less than 2,000. America Abroad reports from Tunisia on life for those who remain, and their hopes and concerns under the new Islamist regime. 
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The Middle East, once a region of great religious diversity, has in recent decades seen a mass emigration of minorities – now making it one of the most religiously monolithic regions in the world. Joseph Braude reports.
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What role should the U.S. play in ensuring religious freedom in the Middle East? Elliott Abrams, former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, talks with Katherine Lanpher about what the U.S. is and should be doing.
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Host Ray Suarez talks with Thomas Farr of Georgetown University and Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute about the persecution faced by religious minorities in the Mideast, and what the United States is and isn't doing to address it.
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Featured Experts

Nina Shea
An international human-rights lawyer for over 30 years, Nina Shea is currently the Director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. She has worked extensively for the advancement of individual religious freedom and other human rights in U.S. foreign policy.
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Thomas Farr
Thomas F. Farr is the Director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and a former American diplomat. During his career in the Foreign Service, Dr. Farr specialized in strategic military policy, political affairs, and religious freedom.
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Elliott Abrams
Elliott Abrams is former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, and currently a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He is also Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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Jocelyne Cesari
Jocelyne Cesari is a senior research fellow at CNRS-Paris and associate at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and CES. Cesari teaches at Harvard Divinity School and in the government department.
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Religious Minorities in the Middle East / Produced by Kimberly Adams, Joseph Braude, Katherine Lanpher, the team at Tunisia Live, and A.C. Valdez/ Edited by Martha Little with additional production help from Flawn Williams. / Web Producer: Philippa Levenberg / Photos: Marcus F. BenignoSeth Frantzman (via Flickr), AP/Ben Curtis, and spdl_n1 (via Flickr).

Host: Ray Suarez / Length: 51 minutes / Airdate: Feb 2013

This show was made possible through the generous support of The Henry Luce Foundation.

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Documentaries

Documentaries

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