Religious Oppression Rises Despite Arab Spring, Pew Study Shows

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People who hoped the Arab Spring would lead to greater religious freedom across the Middle East have been sorely disappointed, and a new Pew study confirms that the region has grown even more repressive for various religious groups.


“In 2011, when most of the political uprisings known as the Arab Spring occurred, the Middle East and North Africa experienced pronounced increases in social hostilities involving religion, while government restrictions on religion remained exceptionally high,” according to the report by the Pew Research Center.

The study shows the number of countries in the Middle East or North Africa with sectarian or communal violence between religious groups doubled from five to 10 during 2011, a year that coincided with most of the political uprisings of Arab Spring.

Among those groups most adversely affected were Egypt’s Coptic Christians, whose churches have been bombed and burned both before and after the February 2011 fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Written By: Lauren Markoe
continue to source article at huffingtonpost.com

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  1. ” Religious Oppression Rises Despite Arab Spring “

    Really? I kind of figured that early on people would know this as, putatively, secular regimes ( though dictatorial ) were being challenged by the best organized opposition factions; islamists.

    Some were fooled and hopeful, but I think religious oppression was definitely seen early on and the Pew results are no surprise.

    Turkey, quite possibly, excepted.

  2. Under what stone was Pew hiding? The out come was so blatantly obvious. Anybody with even a smidgen of knowledge of what was happening in the Middle East could see the Arab Spring was organized and driven by Islamists ( the Brotherhood) with minor support by secularist who were hoping against hope the majority of their respective populations would turn on the brotherhood once the mainly secular dictators were overthrown. The “west” fell for this gambit hook line ad sinker. jcw

  3. I’m fascinated by the fact that Shites and Sunnibums are moving into deeper division.
    It’s nauseating that innocent children and others are victims in the Syria crossfire ; but both factions trying to claw out each others eyes is a clear demonstration of Islamic dogmatic dogshit!

  4. The “Arab Spring” was media hype from the propagandists to the gullible.

    Destabilising even bad governments and starting civil wars, rarely benefits anyone except arms-manufacturers, gangsters, dodgy traders, political or religious ideologies, and foreign empire-builders.

    It does however bring uncertainty, stress, disruption, disorder, lawlessness, death, starvation and poverty to millions.

    • In reply to #9 by Alan4discussion:

      The “Arab Spring” was media hype from the propagandists to the gullible.

      Destabilising even bad governments and starting civil wars, rarely benefits anyone except arms-manufacturers, gangsters, dodgy traders, political or religious ideologies, and foreign empire-builders.

      It does however bring unc…

      Not every revolution, but perhaps most, follow the same pattern. In the English civil war, Cromwell and his bourgeois puritans let the Levellers do the work, then suppressed the egalitarian elements in the army, Napoleon rode to power on the back of the Jacobins, Thiers and McMahon crushed the proletarian communards in the name of a bourgeois republic, Stalin took over the party of Trotsky and Lenin and turned it into an instrument of oppression which lasted seventy years.

      Nearly always a tightly organised group, goes along with the radicals until they have achieved victory over the forces of reaction, then turns on its erstwhile comrades and consolidates power for itself.

    • In reply to #9 by Alan4discussion:

      The “Arab Spring” was media hype from the propagandists to the gullible.

      destabilising even bad governments and starting civil wars, rarely benefits anyone except arms-manufacturers, gangsters, dodgy traders, political or religious ideologies, and foreign empire-builders.

      It does however bring unc…

      The way propping up – the venerable mainstay of US foreign policy*- bad governments does not benefit arms-manufacturers, gangsters, dodgy traders, political or religious ideologies, and foreign empire-builders?

      *He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB. See also Saudi royal family for one of the more fragrant and longest running examples.

      • In reply to #14 by godsbuster:
        >

        The way propping up – the venerable mainstay of US foreign policy*- bad governments does not benefit arms-manufacturers, gangsters, dodgy traders, political or religious ideologies, and foreign empire-builders?

        Propping up bad governments – especially stooge or puppet bad governments, certainly can similarly benefit the same sorts of disreputables. In fact, many such disreputables were manipulated into power earlier and kept there, by the same clandestine forces which are currently starting the civil wars.

        • In reply to [#9] by Alan4discussion:

          The “Arab Spring” was media hype from the propagandists to the gullible.
          Destabilising even bad governments and starting civil wars, rarely benefits anyone except arms-manufacturers, gangsters, dodgy traders, political or religious ideologies, and foreign empire-builders.
          It does however bring uncertainty, stress, disruption, disorder, lawlessness, death, starvation and poverty to millions.

          What I was hoping to have been seen pointing out is that your seemingly unilateral rather facile slagging off of the Arab spring, which kinda has the undertone (even if unintended) of suggesting we’d a been better off without it, is, rather facile.

          I think we are majorly the better off for it. Any movement takes some steps forward and some back. As long as there’s a net gain, we should recognize at least that. Egyptians are bigtime pissed off that their movement is being hijacked as are the Turks of late with their democratically elected godbotherer for similar reasons. And they are voicing their reaction. Loudly.

          Even if the only effect of the movement has been that it has allowed folks in these countries to “feel their oats” individually and then as a consequence collectively, that would be plenty of reason to welcome it instead of slagging it off.

    • In reply to #9 by Alan4discussion:

      The “Arab Spring” was media hype from the propagandists to the gullible.

      Yeah, that was what I thought when I was following news coverage back in 2011 of the so-called Tahrir Square protests.

      Look at these images:

      rdf richard rdf richard

      They’ve clearly been photoshopped by media outlets to make it look as though there are hundreds of thousands in attendance.

      Or check out this clip of a ‘pro-democracy’ activist. It reeks of insincerity. The chick is obviously a media shill and actress.

      …..

      I honestly do not get you people. You act like you want democracy and human rights movements to fail in these parts of the world.

      Do you think it makes you sound wise after the fact when you offer the view that the Arab Spring… Sorry Fouad, the Arab Winter was destined to fail from the start? Because it doesn’t. It just makes you look mean-spirited, misanthropic and nasty as hell.

      Destabilising even bad governments and starting civil wars, rarely benefits anyone except arms-manufacturers, gangsters, dodgy traders, political or religious ideologies, and foreign empire-builders.

      It does however bring uncertainty, stress, disruption, disorder, lawlessness, death, starvation and poverty to millions.

      Well why bother protesting about anything?

      Let’s hear it for the tyrants and the despots and the whole status bally quo!

      If Alan had his way you would all get to live long lives in the luxury of your gilded palaces and die in bed at a grand old age, all attempts to oust you from your position of privilege having been put down before they could properly begin.

      France would be a monarchy still; the Union Flag would be flying over the White House, whose occupant definitely wouldn’t have the skin hue the present one does; the Berlin Wall would stand; the movie Casablanca would stink; and this iconic image wouldn’t be one of the most famous in history:

      rdf richard

      Vive la Staying at home with a nice cup of Horlicks and a Sudoku, not making a fuss.

      • In reply to #18 by Katy Cordeth:

        All revolutions start with idealists running around full of hype! — and then very often things turn mean and nasty.

        Sorry but I am not interested in telling you what you would like to hear. I am making objective observations about history and present trends based on history. Others on this thread have contrasted the unrealistic optimism of ideologies, having to face the horrors of prolonged armed conflicts once reality catches up with them and with the entire communities they have dragged into the disputes.

        If you think ideological revolutions should be entered into lightly – go and visit some refugee camps!

        • In reply to #19 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #18 by Katy Cordeth:

          All revolutions start with idealists running around full of hype! — and then very often things turn mean and nasty.

          Yes, we don’t go straight from storming the Bastille to the Cinquième République; from the Russian Revolution straight to the modern social democracies of Western Europe. However, history is not strictly linear. The former USSR has meanwhile devolved sideways into crony oligarch capitalism. And, all these popular uprisings -the latest in Brazil, have never before occurred under similar circumstances: driven and enabled by instantaneous digital communication. They can often instantly just become to big to crush with state violence.

          Maybe they way religions go to die on the internet, political leadership’s tone-deafness to population’s needs and aspirations and calls for accountability will go to die in the digitally assisted public square.

          • In reply to #21 by godsbuster:

            The former USSR has meanwhile devolved sideways into crony oligarch capitalism. And, all these popular uprisings -the latest in Brazil, have never before occurred under similar circumstances: driven and enabled by instantaneous digital communication. They can often instantly just become to big to crush with state violence.

            Indeed! with the collapse of the system of state owned assets, it did not take long for multi-billionaires to have seized vast resources into their personal ownership and personal benefit!

            The speed of the regime collapses, if anything, is likely to add to the instability.

            I think the issue is not if they are too big to crush with state repression, but if they are too disjointed and divided in their objectives to form a stable replacement government which can operate a system of laws. The alternative is years of civil war as the “enemy of my government enemy”, is not my friend, once the the system of government and law has collapsed, – and the infighting between factions starts. It is very much easier to destroy an administrative structure, than to build and establish a new one!

            Military or theocratic dictatorships are the most likely to restore order and some sort of law, from the shambolic argumentative chaos of groups with disputed objectives and corrupt individual financial interests. Puppet governments of foreign powers which are supplying weapons, are also probable outcomes.

            The civilian population is likely to simple be the cannon fodder drawn into this, or caught in the cross-fire.

    • In reply to #9 by Alan4discussion:

      Destabilising even bad governments and starting civil wars, rarely benefits anyone except arms-manufacturers, gangsters, dodgy traders, political or religious ideologies, and foreign empire-builders.

      Yes. We must remember the terrible lack of change and social progress created by the American civil war, the British civil war, the French civil war, the Indian civil war… Oh wait.

  5. hardly surprising

    the thing that links religious oppressors globally is effectivelt having nothing to lose. state leaders who wish to stay in power have to be more cosmopolitan in their outlook whereas oppressed minorities have the luxury of a a black and white worldview. Iraq is an obvious example, a secular country run by a sunni muslim dictator. now he’s been overthrown you have an unholy alliance of secterian warlords trying to learn how to control something bigger than their own village tribe.

    afganistan was invaded 12 years ago, to this day the taliban have not been defeated and the US are considering negotiating at last. imagine if 12 years ago they’d been offerred international aid and recognised as legitimate rulers? sure they’d still be horrible but chances are they’d be less bothered about religion after a few summit meetings in the west and a taste of the lifestyle.

    you need only look to the UK to see how two religious factions in Northern Ireland came to share power. this didn’t make any difference to the sectarian population. the fences are still up, there is growing unrest and acts of terrorism, no doubt by people who see all those sharing power as traitors to their causes.

    running a state means managing people on a grand scale. This means multi-tasking, collaborative descision-making and listening to all grievences regardless of if you care about them or not, but rather to be wary of potential threats to your position. revolutionists only have one goal. they want to overturn the government and it’s unlikely they had any large-scale political discussions on who and how to run the post-revolution state before rioting.

    as a friend of mine once pointed out, referring to a political discussion he was dragged into by far-right acquaintance; politics isn’t so sexy when you realise it’s actually about getting your bins emptied

  6. Every ‘revolution’ or social protest movement will be subverted and mangled one way or another.

    May I offer some exceptions? The American revolution, which kinda managed to preserve the status quo. The fascist hostile takeovers, that went pretty much as planned for the parties involved. The various communist revolutions (North Korea / China / Cuba)? All of which being grotesque and distorted fascistic regimes none the less.

    Radicals tend to pop out of the woodwork in those uncertain climate. It’s the one with the bigger gun or the more ruthless approach that tend to win. Then minorities or the discontents get a real beating.

    • In reply to #12 by papa lazaru:

      Every ‘revolution’ or social protest movement will be subverted and mangled one way or another.

      May I offer some exceptions? The American revolution, which kinda managed to preserve the status quo. The fascist hostile takeovers, that went pretty much as planned for the parties involved. The various…

      I was going to mention the Fascists, but decided against it. Something similar did happen in Germany, the Night of the Longknives, when Hitler’s original proletarian base, the Brownshirts, were liquidated. By the time of the communist revolutions you mention, Stalinism was so deeply entrenched in the international movement that others never got a look in. Cuba might be the one place where an indigenous movement succeeded, but even then, due to international pressure, Castro was obliged to ally with the Soviet Union and embrace Stalinism.

      The American Revolution was a war of independence, not a revolution, different thing all together.

  7. In reply to #19 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #18 by Katy Cordeth:

    …I am making objective observations about history and present trends based on history.

    These observations may be objective, at least in your own mind, but they’re also wrong. Here’s what you said in your comment #9 again:

    Destabilising even bad governments and starting civil wars, rarely benefits anyone except arms-manufacturers, gangsters, dodgy traders, political or religious ideologies, and foreign empire-builders.

    It does however bring uncertainty, stress, disruption, disorder, lawlessness, death, starvation and poverty to millions.

    While it’s undoubtedly true that the years following any sort of societal upheaval will be turbulent (how could they be anything else) what is not correct is that civil wars and revolutions benefit only those interested in profiteering. They may do in the short term, but that isn’t what you said.

    You again:

    The “Arab Spring” was media hype from the propagandists to the gullible.

    Where does this view come from? Is it hype that Hosni Mubarak was ejected from office? Is he still running things over there? Do he and Muammar Gaddafi regularly get together and have a chuckle about how great it is to be in power?

    Unless you have some evidence to back up the claim that media hype and propaganda exaggerated these events, one is inclined to take the view that this is just opinion, despite any protestations of observational objectivity.

    I’m sick of these trollish comments which dismiss offhand the unbelievable courage displayed by the actors in this real-life drama, often from those who don’t even have the wontons to step out from behind their online pseudonym.

    If you think ideological revolutions should be entered into lightly – go and visit some refugee camps!

    Your concern for those you seem to hold in such low regard and whose efforts you find futile is very nearly touching.

    When did I say revolution should be entered into lightly?

    • In reply to #20 by Katy Cordeth:

      The “Arab Spring” was media hype from the propagandists to the gullible.

      Where does this view come from? Is it hype that Hosni Mubarak was ejected from office? Is he still running things over there? Do he and Muammar Gaddafi regularly get together and have a chuckle about how great it is to be in power?

      Your problem is that you are focussed on the media hype of individual personalities and idealistic aspirations – detached from historical realities. The real world does not do Hollywood versions of history, or Fox News versions of “reality”.

      The point I was making is that starting a revolution is usually unlikely to automatically lead to improved conditions for the majority of citizens. The French were not better off by trading Louis XVI for Robespierre, The Russians were not better off from trading the Czar for Stalin. The Iraqis were not better off for trading Saddam Hussain for years of civil war, (Although the Bush-buddies are better off from controlling Iraqi oil). The Iranians are not better off from overthrowing the Shah to empower the Ayatollahs.

      Unless you have some evidence to back up the claim that media hype and propaganda exaggerated these events, one is inclined to take the view that this is just opinion, despite any protestations of observational objectivity.

      It is certainly my opinion that history is likely to repeat itself in similar situations. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

      Trading bad rule of law for no law at all, with roaming armed gangs, is not an improvement in conditions for the general population. In many cases they are forced to flee into refugee camps or suffer sectarian killings or genocides, while resources which normally provided food are either brought to a stop as farming is abandoned, or diverted into buying weapons for the gangsters.
      There is also no assurance that after years of strife and grief, the replacement regime will be any better.

      Even the destitute in refugee camps are denied food by lawless armed militias seizing food aid to feed their gangsters during civil wars.

      Hijackings force UN to halve food aid to 3m people in war-hit Darfur

      • At least 60 agency lorries attacked in four months
      • Lack of army escorts and peace force delays blamed
      • In reply to #26 by Alan4discussion:

        Further to may earlier comment:-

        Trading bad rule of law for no law at all, with roaming armed gangs, is not an improvement in conditions for the general population.

        Watch Egypt! The army will either re-establish control -probably as a military dictatorship, or the whole place will fall apart in a lawless mess! It did not take long, to go downhill after the first revolution!

        Those who have meddled in cultures they do not understand, are likely to find out why strong dictatorial governments were able to keep the lid on theocratic fanatics.

    • In reply to #22 by Sally:

      Really? And why is this surprising?

      The new rulers of these states find religion every bit as useful in controlling people as the old ones did.

      Marx, Engels, Lenin quotes? The troika’s answers to complex problems are inadequate. The old rulers were more secular and less democratic. Not an easy choice whom to dislike more.

  8. In reply to #23 by GOD:

    Marx, Engels, Lenin quotes? The troika’s answers to complex problems are inadequate. The old rulers were more secular and less…

    Really? I don’t find them so…

    But then I’m an unapologetic communist, who won’t be satisfied until proletarian revolutions have succeeded everywhere.

  9. I vaguely recall reading an article on this site explaining why revolutions in Islamic countries would always end in the establishment of a theocracy. Unfortunately I don’t remember the reasoning behind the assertion, though I think it had something to do with a predisposition towards absolute authority.

  10. In reply to #31 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #26 by Alan4discussion:

    Further to my earlier comment..

    Again with the negativity and short-term thinking, Alan.

    Is there no hope at all for the Arab world?

    Should we just, in the words of John McCain, “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb…” them all to oblivion?

    Trading bad rule of law for no law at all, with roaming armed gangs, is not an improvement in conditions for the general population

    Let us fervently hope the Catholic Church never falls then. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if its influence in places such as Africa were suddenly to disappear.

    Those who have meddled in cultures they do not understand are likely to find out why strong dictatorial governments were able to keep the lid on theocratic fanatics.

    So you don’t mind if millions are gassed, tortured or live lives of abject misery under the manicured thumbs of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gadaffi, Herr Shicklgruber and their like, providing it keeps a lid on religious extremism.

    I would have assumed you were at least in favor of the most recent protests against Mohamed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood.

    It did not take long, to go downhill after the first revolution!

    Yes. Which is why we have the current mass demonstrations. Revolution mark II if you like.

    Don’t dismiss it, Alan. You’re better than that. This fatalistic bullpoop is becoming tiresome.

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