Radio release - Religious Minorities in the Middle East (UPDATED)

Radio release - Religious Minorities in the Middle East (UPDATED)

(Washington DC – February 7, 2013) America Abroad’s February radio documentary is “Religious Minorities in the Middle East.”

The Arab Awakening has led to a rise in Islamist governments in the Middle East – increasing concerns about the rights of religious minorities. Learn more on this month’s episode of America Abroad - Religious Minorities in the Middle East - an updated version of an earlier broadcast with new reporting on this timely and critical issue.

Segments include:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 the implications for U.S. national security.

Listen to Religious Minorities in the Middle East »

Also check out this photo essay documenting life among Egypt's Coptic Christian community.

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